Ballot levy rejection is hot potato

The ballot to decide the future of the AHDB potato levy has concluded with the sector voting substantially against the continuation of the levy collection policy.

With 1,196 eligible votes cast, the No vote against the continuation of a levy was 66.4 per cent versus the Yes vote of 33.6 per cent.Voting analysis by UK Engage according to value of levy paid, showed a similar picture of 63.2 per cent No votes versus Yes votes of 36.8 per cent.Splitting the result into the two separate potato levies - the potato buyer levy and the potato grower levy - overall buyers voted 82.1 per cent No and 17.9 per cent Yes. The growers voted 64.3 per cent No and 35.7 per cent Yes.AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir said: “I’m deeply disappointed. The voting information reported by UK Engage shows that a clear majority of the potato industry feels they are not getting enough value from the current levy set-up.“It is now down to Ministers to weigh up all the various factors about GB potato industry and make a decision on the future role of a statutory potato levy.”The voting report has been passed to Ministers for a decision on whathappens next.The call for a ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy in the potato sector came late last year and a yes/no vote started in mid-February, on the basis of one levy payer, one vote. An independent company, UK Engage, administered the vote process.

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The overall voter turnout was 64 per cent.

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