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£103m FSA pension ‘recoup’ plan is staggering

The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) has reacted sharply
to the revelation that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a pension
deficit of £103 million which it is planning to recoup from industry
over the next 20 years.

The extent of the FSA’s pension deficit was revealed during an industry
stakeholders meeting in York this week.

”After years of striving to establish details of the overheads which
are included in the FSA’s meat inspection charges, light has finally
been shed on this issue,” said Ian Anderson, SAMW Executive Manager,
who attended the meeting.  ”It was also revealed that the pension
deficit element in the FSA’s proposed charges for 2011/12 is £4.7m. In
addition, however, it’s still not clear what the FSA’s current pension
contribution costs are or how the FSA intends to manage its future
pension liability.

”Even without this information, the figures we already have are
staggering and there is no rationale whatsoever for imposing this cost
on the meat processing industry.  This is precisely why the FSA’s ‘Full
Cost Recovery’ policy is totally flawed and extremely ill-timed and why
the FSA Board should reject it out of hand when it meets to consider
the policy on May 24.”

Mr Anderson added that he believed the Scottish operation of FSA was,
however, the most efficient and cost-effective in the UK and would, as
such, be likely to carry a lower proportion of the pension liability
than the rest of the UK.

”This fact adds strength to the case for Scotland having its own meat
inspection service,  devoid of the national UK inefficiencies which the
Scottish processing sector is being lumbered with under the existing
system,” he said.