Farm animals spending parts of their life in different UK countries will have levy charges spread across different levy boards under new proposals.
UK levy boards have submitted proposals to ministers for an alternative distribution of red meat levy income. Currently levy is collected at the point of slaughter, which does not take into account where value has been added. This applies to beef, sheep and pigs.
The new system, developed by AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), would see levy income apportioned across different countries in which animals spend their lives.
This would be according to the ’economic activity undertaken by the red meat industry’ in these countries.
Dai Davies, chairman of HCC, said: "The new system would take into account the scale of the industry in each of the countries and base the levy distribution on this, which acknowledges structural changes which have happened in the industry across Great Britain over the last decade."
Peter Kendall, Chairman of AHDB, added: "We were challenged to take a fresh look at the way the levy is distributed.
"We have subsequently developed a mechanism which could potentially be used to distribute red meat levy in a different way, bearing in mind changes to the structure of the abattoir sector in Britain in recent years."
The issue has been prominent in the UK red meat sector for several years. A growing concentration of abattoirs in England has meant more animals from other UK countries have been slaughtered in England.
Currently, levy for these animals is collected in England, and there no mechanism for returning funds to QMS or HCC. There is also no mechanism to redistribute levy for animals leaving England for Scotland or Wales.