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Levy Board Review - Think Again!
06/03/06

The Tenant Farmers Association has told DEFRA that it needs to think again about the changes it wants to make to the agricultural and horticultural levy boards following the Review carried out by Rosemary Radcliffe last year.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said "The TFA had great hopes for the review of levy bodies carried out by Rosemary Radcliffe but finds her report sadly lacking in any real proposals for change that will make any useful difference to the delivery of key, levy board functions. The TFA doubts that levy payers would notice any difference in the performance of levy bodies if the Radcliffe reforms were implemented. The report fails to address any of the fundamental issues raised in the TFA's own submission to the Radcliffe review and we have reiterated those to DEFRA".

A central issue to be addressed is how the European State Aid rules impact upon the marketing activities of levy bodies. The TFA believes that a large portion of levy body work should be about assisting and facilitating marketing of British products to British consumers. If this is to be thwarted by State Aid Rules then serious questions need to be asked about whether there can be any future for levy bodies.

"The TFA sees no advantage in the SectorCos, NewCo, ServiceCo model forwarded by the Radcliffe report. The approach seems to us much like re-arranging the chairs on a ship which is already going in the wrong direction. The TFA's position is that whilst there is a need to improve the governance of levy bodies and their accountability to levy payers, they should be justified and judged on their individual performance in marketing, research, provision of information, overseas promotion and lobbying. You cannot have a sensible reform of levy bodies without these issues being addressed" said Mr Dunn.

The TFA believes that through consultation with levy payers, each board should be allocated a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and then asked to set out 5 year strategic plans and annual detailed plans explaining how these targets will be met. There must be a demonstrable and measurable net benefit to levy payers over and above competitors from overseas if the levy board structure is to survive.

"The Radcliffe Review is a major missed opportunity. DEFRA needs to return to the drawing board rather than attempting to amend the Radcliffe plan which we believe is fundamentally flawed" said Mr Dunn.

link NFUS Responds to Agricultural Levy Board Review
link New Nitrate Rules Could Wreck Industry
link Tenancy diversification scheme welcomed by TFA

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Tenant Farmers Association
Tenant Farmers Association