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Key dates in the UK sugar industry

Last updated: 17 Jul 2013

1909
National Sugar Beet Association founded to establish the manufacture of sugar as an industry

1912
Cantley factory built

1912 - 1921
Newark factory built

1924
Nottingham factory built

1924
NFU Sugar Beet Committee formed.

1925
Sugar Industry (Subsidy) Act - provided new enterprises with direct subsidies on a declining scale over ten years

1925
Bury St Edmunds, Ely, Ipswich, Kidderminster, Spalding and Wissington factories built.

1926
Cupar, Felsted, Peterborough, and York factories built

1927
Allscott, Bardney, King's Lynn and Selby factories built

1928
Brigg factory built

1935
Greene Committee Report - reviewed end of direct subsidy of the sugar industry

May 21 1936
Sugar Industry (Reorganisation) Act created British Sugar Corporation from 13 autonomous companies, 17 factories. Government held 36% stake.

June 12 1936
British Sugar Corporation registered

1956
Sugar Act - replaced the 1936 Act

1963
British Sugar Bureau founded

1972
Cupar factory closed

1973
Entry to the European Community

1973
Inter-professional Agreement drawn up in line with European Regulation 206/68 and sets out the terms and conditions of the contract between growers and British Sugar.

1977
Rights issue raised £18 million from existing investors and effectively reduced government stake in British Sugar from 36% to 24% as it did not take up its share.

November 1979
EC proposals to cut UK quota by 30% - as part of an average cut of 10% across the Community. These proposals were eventually shelved.

1980 / 1981
Hostile takeover bid for British Sugar by S & W Berisford failed

1981
Government sold shareholding

1981
National quota cut from 1.326 million tonnes to 1.144 million tonnes. Since farmers were not growing enough sugar beet to support British Sugar's capacity and domestic consumption had fallen, the UK Minister of Agriculture accepted a cut in sugar quota in return for better arrangements on sheep.

1981
Ely, Felsted, Nottingham and Selby factories closed

May 1982
Corporation dropped from British Sugar company name, it is now a plc

1982
British Sugar purchased by Berisford International

1983
First re-negotiating of the Inter-Professional Agreement

1986 / 1987
British Sugar takeover bids from Hillsdown Holdings, Feruzzi and Tate & Lyle referred to Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Subsequent bid by Associated British Foods withdrawn following stockmarket crash of October 1987.

1989
Spalding factory closed

September 1990
Following heavy losses in finance and property, Berisford were forced to sell British Sugar. Interest from Tate & Lyle attracted further investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

January 2 1991
British Sugar purchased by Associated British Foods for £880 million

1991
Brigg and Peterborough factories closed

1994
King's Lynn factory closed

June 1994
New business divisions created by British Sugar - The Silver Spoon Company, Sugar For Industry

1997 / 1998
Record crop yield of 1.59 million tonnes of sugar extracted from 11.1 million tonnes of beet

19 May 2000
Second re-negotiation of the Inter-Professional Agreement

2001
Ipswich factory closed, Bardney factory ceased beet processing

March 2001
EU adopt "Everything But Arms" agreement (EBA) granting duty-free access to imports of all products from 49 least developed countries (LDC's) without any quantitative restrictions, except to arms and munitions. Gradual reduction of duty on sugar to July 2009.

June 2001
Commission announces cut in quotas of 115,000t (50% of the structural surplus of 227,000t) for EU as part of the new Sugar Regime for the next five years until 2005/06 marketing year. UK national quota reduced from 1.144M/t to 1.138.626.9M/t (A quota 1,035,115.4 and B quota 103,511.5M/t.

2002
Kidderminster factory closed

May 2003
UK grown organic beet sugar launched to food industry

23 September 2003
EU Commission opens discussion to reform the EU Sugar Regime

21 October 2003
DEFRA seek consultation on Sugar Regime with industry stakeholders

3 March 2004
NFU Sugar Board formed, as a result of the 2003 NFU Review, and takes over from the Sugar Beet Committee.

July 2004
Inter-Professional Agreement rolled over for two years

24 November 2005
EU sugar reforms are agreed by EU Agriculture Ministers. The radical reform sees a phased reduction in the minimum beet price and sugar reference price and a reduction in EU sugar production of around 6 million tonnes. A compensation package will be paid to growers during the reform period.

4 July 2006
British Sugar announces factory closures in York and Allscott. The 2006/07 campaign will be their last. An industry restructuring scheme is launched soon after this announcement.

11 August 2006
New three year Inter-Professional Agreement agreed covering the 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 campaigns.

27 September 2007
Council of Ministers agree amendments to the sugar restructuring programme to encourage further renunciation of tonnage from EU producers. This follows a lower than expected number of renunciations in the first two years of the four year scheme.

8 February 2008
Defra approves British Sugar s application to renounce 13.5% of the UK sugar quota into the EU restructuring scheme. A compensation package is later launched for UK beet growers.

5 October 2009
NFU and British Sugar announce a one year Inter-Professional Agreement covering the 2010/11 campaign.

13 February 2010
NFU and British Sugar announce a new four year Inter-Professional Agreement covering the 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 campaigns. For the first time, the beet price would be determined using a pricing model and will be fixed at the point of contracting. 

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