AHDB levy role suspended

Following the recent levy-payer votes on the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board’s role in the potato and horticulture sectors, the board is to wind down its activities for those enterprises.

And while the board said that all steps would be taken to minimise expenditure, they revealed that some levy was still likely to be chargeable for the current season.

While awaiting a decision on future representation by Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales, AHDB said the move would reassure levy payers their views had been heard – and programmes such as work on export market access and promotional international trade events, consumer marketing campaigns and market pricing and insight information were being run down.

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The new interim chief executive of the board, Ken Boyns said that minimising expenditure was “the responsible thing to do” while awaiting the ministers decisions, but added that some emergency work on pests and diseases, and some research work which had already been contracted would continue and would need to be paid for.

Boyns added that while levy return forms would be issued by post and email over the coming fortnight in line with AHDB’s legal obligations to assess what was due, actual invoices would not be issued until Ministers had made a decision on levy rates.

Pointing to the large number of staff at the AHDB who now faced an uncertain future he urged levy payers to be patient during the transition and said some levy would be required to cover on-going costs.

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