SCOTTISH ministers have approved an increase in Quality Meat Scotland's levy rates following consultation with the industry.

A levy rise of 6.8% will be implemented for processors and producers from April 1, 2024, it has been confirmed this week.

Going forward, QMS has proposed that levy increases will revert to annual increases in line with the CPIH index.

It marks the first time that the organisation has requested a change to the levy in 13 years.

The quality assurance schemes run by QMS covers more than 90% of livestock farmed for red meat in Scotland.

Chair of QMS, Kate Rowell, said the levy increase would ensure its financial model remained sustainable.

She said: "We are pleased that ministers have approved the levy increase which will ensure continuation of the work that QMS has committed to prioritising for farmers and processors.

"The new rates will allow us to invest in our key activities underpinning our vision to make Scotland the choice for premium red meat, during a critical time for all businesses.

"QMS will continue to proactively engage with the whole red meat chain as we navigate the future together, and look forward to showcasing some of our new work streams over the coming months."

It comes after Defra ministers approved AHDB's levy increases in all four sectors it supports – pork, beef and lamb in England, dairy in GB, and cereals and oilseeds in the UK.

The new rates will also be implemented from April 2024.