The Statutory Instrument, which sets the rules by which AHDB operates, states that only levy payers who have paid the levy in the 12 months preceding the ballot can vote. In any normal year, this might be a straight forward requirement, but this year has been far from normal.
With COVID-19 impacting on businesses in different ways, AHDB had enabled growers that had been affected the most to defer their levy payment until 2021. This decision was made well before the ballot was called, but now that it has it brings into question whether those growers that have deferred their payment meet the conditions of the Statutory Instrument in order to be eligible to vote.
The unfortunate answer is that the legislation is not flexible enough to allow it. And that is why AHDB has been contacting growers to request a small, nominal payment of £50 in order to be registered as a current levy payer and secure their right to vote in the ballot. If growers are unsure, they are urged to contact the AHDB Levy team to confirm their levy status and eligibility.
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