EU levy refund secured for British beet sugar industry

Sugar beet growers are collectively owed millions of pounds in overpaid levies, after a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling confirmed that growers were historically overcharged by the EU Commission using a ‘flawed method’ for calculating the now discontinued levy.

Growers of sugar beet during 1999 and 2000 are entitled to a repayment of both the overpayment, and the interest accrued.

Growers will receive a form from British Sugar to fill out in order to receive their repayment. Any grower who believes they are entitled to a refund and does not receive a letter is urged to contact the helpline British Sugar has set up on 01733 422153 in order to apply for the repayment.  The refund, over £6 million in total, is split roughly equally between growers and British Sugar.

Sugar processors in the EU challenged this historic over-calculation and succeeded in getting it revised after taking it through the European courts. British Sugar will make the repayments to growers, while the Rural Payments Agency will be responsible for making the repayment to British Sugar.

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar said: “I am pleased we are able to confirm to growers, that after a considerable period of time, we can refund the right money to the right growers. We’ve written to all growers asking them to complete a simple form so that we can submit the claims to the RPA, and we’d urge growers to return this to British Sugar as soon as possible”

NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: “NFU Sugar is working closely with British Sugar to help ensure the circa 8,750 growers of sugar beet at the time get a refund. British Sugar asked that the costs of administering this refund to growers is covered by the grower base and I am pleased to confirm that NFU Sugar will cover these costs on behalf of growers.

“We urge all growers to look out for correspondence from NFU Sugar and British Sugar, and return the form they receive in order to apply for their refund. Growers can contact the dedicated helpline if they do not receive one or are in any doubt. The clock is ticking and we don’t want any grower to miss out.”

British Sugar and NFU Sugar are working closely with the RPA and hope to receive the payment around the end of September 2018. The repayment to growers will then come from British Sugar. If a grower has any questions British Sugar has set up a helpline – 01733 422153.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.