29-01-2014 06:24 AM | Finance, News

Lancashire and Cheshire farmers urged to claim back sugar levy



Farmers in West Lancashire and North Cheshire who once grew sugar beet are being urged to make a claim after it was revealed funds they are owed remain untouched.

Last summer it was announced that growers could be in line for a levy refund following a court ruling that they had overpaid.

At the time British Sugar wrote to growers to inform them that if they grew beet under contract in the years 2002/3 through to 2005/6 they were likely to get a payment. However, it was revealed there was still money to be claimed with a possible September cut-off for payments to be made.

The refund follows a European Court ruling in favour of the beet processing industry. The court found there was an overpayment of levies to the European Commission.

Last year, letters went to all recorded growers in order to confirm and collect information from them so they could receive the levy rebate.

The letters were posted to the last known address from 2001 to 2006; however, some who should have received the information may not have done. Businesses can also claim should there have been a family bereavement.

Robert Sheasby, NFU regional director, said: “We have been told that money still remains in the pot for Lancashire and Cheshire growers and we would urge them to come forward if they think they are eligible.

“We must remember this is money owed to growers so they should ask for it back as it’s rightfully theirs. It is important that all growers and former growers fill in the forms and return them. I would call on those who did not receive a letter but think they should have to contact British Sugar as soon as possible.”

The levy money was to fund the export of excess quota sugar under the old European sugar regime. Experts estimate the return could be in the order of 75p/t of contract.

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