SAMW responds to QMS levy increase proposals
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) announced at the Royal Highland Show that it intends to increase its levy, and has begun drafting the business plan that will deliver against the framework launched at the show. SAMW supports the increase, but wants to see clear outputs.
The levy increase will be based off an annual calculation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and QMS said that there will be an annual ‘brake’ to sense check for extreme market conditions or levels of inflation. After five years, the trade body said it will review the mechanism to ensure it is still ‘fit for purpose’ going forward.
QMS stated that the levy increase will help with investing in activities to both “protect and develop” the Scotch brands, ensuring they can be marketed effectively. It said that it wants to ensure it can continue “driving productivity and profitability” while also continuing with domestic and international promotional activity, plus “critical” market development work.
Kate Rowell, QMS chair, said: “As the world gears up to compete for high value UK retail market access, levy bodies must also gear up to be able to deliver on behalf of businesses within their supply chains.
“QMS has not requested a levy increase since 2010, and we want to remain fit for the future of Scotland’s iconic Scotch brands, promotional work and market development. With this in mind, as we announced at the Royal Highland Show, we plan to hold industry workshops throughout Scotland during November and December, to discuss the delivery of our five-year strategy and, as agreed by the QMS board, a proposed levy increase to fund this vital work.
“To continue to deliver good value for money and integral support to Scotland’s red meat supply chain, as well as to ensure that rising costs are managed, QMS will propose a new mechanism for setting the levy from Spring 2024, adding a small inflationary rise each year to ensure our financial model remains sustainable.
“This mechanism will be reviewed at the end of the five years, to ensure it remains fit for purpose.”
SAMW requests regular progress reports
Scott Walker, executive manager for the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) commented: “A properly resourced QMS is important to promote our products, to seek new markets at home and abroad, and to defend our sector’s reputation.
“In this context, we are not opposed in principle to a change in the levy rate, but we need to be convinced of the benefit of the activities on which the levy will be spent.
“We look forward to discussing with QMS their new five-year business plan for implementing their new strategy. Value for money must be evident in everything QMS does.”
Walker continued: “We are not against a new long-term funding mechanism and will consider what is being proposed against what we see in the new five-year business plan. Levy rates need to be justified and increases should not be taken as a given. Our member companies, for example, have to earn their income increases on a day-to-day/month-to-month basis.
“We want to see clear outputs that benefit the industry from the activities undertaken by QMS and clear timelines for achievement. Regular reporting on the progress made against targets is needed to give us confidence that value is being secured from the levy collected.
“We will be judging the merits of an increase in the levy by the actions proposed in the business plan and will comment more fully once we have seen the details of the business plan.”