Haulage costs talks with British Sugar conclude

First published: 08 December 2021

NFU Sugar board vice-chair Simon Smith holds some sugar beet in a field

NFU Sugar board vice-chair Simon Smith responds to the end of talks with British Sugar.

Talks have ended between NFU Sugar and British Sugar on exceptional measures to cover the situation growers face of spiralling beet haulage costs this year.

British Sugar has refused to take action for the four in five growers who choose to manage haulage independently, despite acknowledging the issue exists.

The current model for calculating these growers’ Transport Allowance payments is expected to deliver only a very minimal uplift at the end of the campaign, which will nowhere near cover the additional costs absorbed by growers.

Substantial additional costs

NFU Sugar board vice-chair Simon Smith said: “It is extremely disappointing that British Sugar is choosing not to support growers incurring substantial additional haulage costs this year.

“British Sugar has acknowledged the significantly higher haulage costs growers are bearing and that growers outside of their managed haulage scheme do not have the same clout or ability to offer outside work as British Sugar does to keep prices down.

“As a result, many growers are having to subsidise haulage costs, at the same time as British Sugar is benefitting from high sugar prices."

Short-sighted approach

“Yet again this is another case of British Sugar using the beet growers to subsidise their business while they are posting healthy profits of their own," Mr Smith continued. "This short-sighted approach is to the detriment of the whole homegrown sugar industry’s long-term sustainability.

“We have not asked for wholesale restructuring of the contract but simply a temporary sticking plaster to account for this year’s exceptional circumstances. We believe British Sugar’s unwillingness to work with growers on this will not be forgotten.”

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