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Currency change is worth £5m to FSA

SAMW has written to Chris Hitchen, Director of Finance at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to highlight the fact that sterling/euro exchange rate changes have give FSA a £5m gain.  The Association is seeking assurance that this ‘gain’ will be reflected in future FSA charges and that 2011/12 charges will revert to 2008/9 levels.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Chris

MEAT INSPECTION CHARGES 2011/12

I am writing on behalf of members of this Association to seek clarification of the FSA’s letter to abattoirs about charges for 2011/12, discounts and the revised Charges Guide.

Paragraph 42 of the Charges Guide states that the discount is set so that the monthly charges for official controls will, assuming all factors are unchanged, be the same as in 2008/09, subject to compliance with EU minima. The FSA’s letter undertakes to maintain charges for 2011/12 at 2010/11 levels, but the latter was more than 10% above the 2008/09 level (amounting to a £5 million gain for the FSA) due to currency exchange fluctuation resulting from the Pound’s weakness against the Euro. As the pound is now considerably stronger we would expect charges to be less in 2011/12 than FSA is proposing; in terms of paragraph 42 these should revert to 2008/09 levels. We are not aware of any consultation or Ministerial edict to the contrary. I would welcome your explanation.

Yours sincerely

IAN ANDERSON
Executive Manager