§ Ms Stuart
[holding answer 18 December 2000]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it has not made any official assessment of the impact on abattoir numbers of any increase in overall inspection charges arising from the planned introduction of full veterinary inspection supervision in full throughout abattoirs from April 2001. However, the Meat Inspection Charges Task Force, which reported to the FSA in June this year, concluded that this, in conjunction with the existing meat inspection charging arrangements, would lead to theserious decimation of the small and medium sized abattoir and cutting plant sector.The Task Force also considered that in some cases this would result ina near doubling of inspection charges for certain individual plants, particularly those in the small and medium sized sector, removing a substantial proportion of their profit and threatening many businesses.
Against that background, on 28 November, we announced in the Rural White Paper that it would be providing £8.7 million in additional new aid in 2001–02 to offset meat inspection costs in order to secure the future of small and medium abattoirs.
§ Ms Stuart
[holding answer 18 December 2000]: Our response to the report of the Meat Inspection Charges Task Force was made on 28 November when, in the context of the publication of the Rural White Paper, it announced new additional aid worth £8.7 million in 2001–02 to offset meat inspection costs in order to secure the future of small and medium sized abattoirs.
I am advised that, as a consequence, the Food Standards Agency will consult early in the new year on the secondary legislation necessary and on how it proposes to implement with effect from April 2001 the Task Force's main recommendation to change the basis of the meat inspection charges system.