Last month the First Minister wrote to Mr Cameron making the case for levy repatriation and ending the practice which costs Quality Meat Scotland, £1.4 million a year, as well as the lost opportunity cost of the extra promotion of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork. In a response to the First Minister Mr Cameron has ruled out the return of the money.
Dr McLeod commented:
“David Cameron’s response to this perfectly reasonable request is totally inadequate and just another example of Westminster intransigence trumping Scottish interests. It means the continuation of the ridiculous situation where Dumfries & Galloway farmers’ contributions help to promote the produce of their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.
“Scottish produce is rightly popular at home and abroad and Dumfries & Galloway produces some of the best, but well-funded marketing campaigns are important in promoting it and helping to further grow the market. For the Prime Minister to back the withholding of funds which can help the Scottish meat sector is indefensible.
“I am also particularly concerned that for the first time the Prime Minister is making the spurious argument that the missing Scottish levy payments are somehow benefitting the Scottish industry by going to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – whose own website highlights that their responsibilities are beef, lamb and pork in England.
“I welcome The Scottish Government’s pledge that it will continue to argue for these funds to be repatriated to Scotland, for the promotion of Scottish produce.”