Meat (Official Controls Charges) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008
Monday 19 November 2007
The Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland seeks comments and views on proposals to increase charges to the operators of approved meat premises for meat hygiene and animal welfare official controls, from the start of the new 2008/09 financial charging period.
All comments and views should be sent to:
Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland
10a Clarendon Road
Belfast BT1 3BG
Tel: 02890 417722
Fax: 02890 417726
Responses are requested by: 11 January 2008
We estimate these proposals would increase our charges to Northern Ireland businesses by approximately £150K in 2008/09.
We are proposing, in respect of meat hygiene and animal welfare official controls charges, to:
- increase standard charges for throughput by 8% (approximately 5% plus inflation), except for those rates that need to be increased to the minima required by the European Commission (EC) Official Feed and Food Controls (OFFC) Regulation from 31st December 2007
- increase the rate for adult bovines, which from 31 December 2007 need to be increased by 6.2% to reach the OFFC minimum, by a further 1.8% (8% in total)
- retain those rates that need to be increased by more than 8% from 31 December 2007 to reach the OFFC minima (no further increase is proposed)
These proposals are in line with recommendations accepted by the FSA Board at its July open meeting and are intended to come into operation on 30th March 2008 to coincide with the start of our new 2008/09 financial charging period.
In addition, the proposed Regulations include that any reference to EC legislation referred to in Schedule 1 is a reference to that legislation as amended from time to time. This is a new provision that has been made possible as a result of an amendment to the European Communities Act. Its benefit would be that the references to EC legislation in the Regulations would not become out of date as soon as amendments to that legislation came into force and it would not be necessary for the proposed Regulations to be amended or replaced to take account of them.
It is not proposed at this stage to change the method of calculating charges. Therefore, food business operators (FBOs) will continue to pay the lower of time-costs or throughput charges. However, the FSA Board signalled at its July open meeting that alternative charging arrangements should be developed for introduction from the start of the 2009/10 financial year. The principle reasons for this are that the current charging arrangements do not:
- in general provide FBOs with an incentive to drive up standards and compliance and to make optimum use of official control resources
- are neither compatible with efficient resource and finance management by DARD VPHU nor do they in general provide an incentive to improve the efficient deployment of official control resources
- do not allow the available subsidy to be targeted to plants most in need
A proposed new charging arrangement will be developed with stakeholder input and will be subject to full public consultation, probably in late Summer/early Autumn next year.
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
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In accordance with the FSA principle of openness our Information Centre at Aviation House will hold a copy of the completed consultation. The FSA will publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name. Disclosure of any other personal data would be made only upon request for the full consultation responses. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
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