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National Craft Butchers News

Beef Eating Quality Project Survey

NCB Members

We are asking you to participate in an important survey concerning beef production.

The purpose of the survey is to provide the BeefQ - Beef Eating Quality project with an understanding of the wider beef industry's current perception of beef eating quality and the desire for a shift from current methods of valuing beef to one based on predicted eating quality, how this could be implemented in practice, and the barriers perceived in doing so.

The BeefQ project is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the Welsh Government, to develop and test a beef eating quality prediction system for Wales.  The eating quality potential of cattle is determined at conception and maintaining that potential to ensure delivery of a consistent, quality beef eating experience to consumers, involves everyone subsequently involved in the beef supply chain. 

The BeefQ project has been working with industry partners to develop a system to predict the eating quality of beef during processing – this information, as demonstrated very successfully in countries such as Australia, can be used to guarantee a specific eating quality experience to consumers and therefore build greater confidence in the product. 

The BeefQ project is now consulting with the broader beef industry to identify, if and how a beef eating quality prediction and reward system could be implemented in the UK. 

To contribute your views – please complete the following short survey by
30th April 2021.

A bi-monthly BeefQ Newsletter can also be viewed and subscribed to at:

BBC's Blue Peter drops meat free message

BBC’s Blue Peter has dramatically dropped its meat free message to children following a joint letter from AHDB, QMS and HCC.

National Craft Butchers entirely supported this stance from the levy bodies and are happy to see them speak for the industry and thousands of Butchers!

Read the joint letter here:

An open letter from AHDB, QMS and HCC in response to CBBC Blue Peter’s Green Badge campaign

he iconic BBC children’s TV show Blue Peter has asked viewers to become part of a ‘green army’ to tackle carbon emissions and climate change. Recommendations to earn a Green Badge include encouraging children to take the ‘Supersize Plants Pledge’ and replacing red meat dishes with “climate friendly” plant-based alternatives.

Citing phrases including “reducing the amount of meat you eat, especially beef and lamb, is known to be even better for the climate than reducing the amount you travel in a car”[1] is incorrect, misleading and based on widely-debunked data. This unbalanced reporting risks compromising the integrity of the red meat produced in the UK to the consumers of the future.

It is essential that young people learn and understand where their food comes from and its impact on the planet, and the Green Badge campaign presents an opportunity to share the fantastic credentials of the British red meat industry, which is amongst the most sustainable in the world and supports the livelihoods of thousands of people.

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a responsibility to provide an impartial argument. This is all the more important when communicating to children

Blue Peter also promotes the Carbon Calculator, a simplistic tool that cites global data not representative of the UK’s red meat industry.

Some of the fantastic initiatives happening right now in farms across the country include conducting regular carbon audits to manage and offset emissions; avoiding ploughing, drainage and over grazing; creating wildlife corridors along water margins, field margins and headlands, taking action to control soil and achieving net zero across the industry in England and Wales by 2040 and by 2045 in Scotland

The highest volume of CO2 is produced by the fossil fuel industries, with livestock farming contributing just 6% of the UK’s CO2 emissions[2]. Given this statistic, cutting your individual meat consumption would in fact not reduce the UK’s overall CO2 emissions nearly as significantly as structural changes in the energy and transport sectors such as encouraging families to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Furthermore, the minerals and vitamins found in red meat should form an important part of a growing young person’s diet. Iron from meat sources is more readily absorbed by the human body compared with iron found in other non-meat sources. A lack of iron may result in a deficiency, increasing the risk of anaemia. Severe iron deficiency may also increase the risk of developing complications to the heart and lungs.

As it stands, 42% of teenage girls fail to achieve the minimum iron intake and 22% of teenage girls don’t get enough zinc[3], which is essential in supporting a healthy immune system.

We would welcome the opportunity to share the positive messages from the red meat industry.  Sharing information with young people about the techniques and processes in place to make sure farming in the UK is not at the detriment to the wider environment is also essential in helping them form their own opinions and consumption habits. A good place to start is Farming Foodsteps, an online resource developed by professionals specifically for school-aged children which explores the red meat journey and includes sustainability and health messaging.

These stories must be shared, and we ask that the BBC and Blue Peter to reconsider their one-sided messaging and provide an opportunity for the heads of the UK’s red meat industry bodies to meet with the head of children’s programming to shed light on the positive messages.  

Yours faithfully,

Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)

Christine Watts, Chief Communications Officer of Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

Gwyn Howells, Chief Executive of Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales (HCC

[1] The pitfalls of simplification when looking at greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, 2018

[2] CIEL, Integrated Report, 2020 -

[3] Iron and Health, Scientific Commission on Nutrition, 2010   

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting

National Federation of Meat and Food Traders

trading as National Craft Butchers

Company number: 00067142

Registered Office: 1 Belgrove, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1YW

Dear Member

National Federation of Meat and Food Traders Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held by Zoom on 29 June 2021 at 10.30 am, we will send you a separate email invitation with a link to access the meeting and password details. Please ensure that you are technically enabled to attend the meeting in advance of this time. If you are concerned about set-up arrangements, please contact the office on 01892 541 412.

The meeting will be chaired by John Mettrick.

All members are welcome to attend the AGM.

During the AGM, those members entitled to vote will be asked to consider and vote on the resolutions set out below and as usual, we will hold the AGM, in compliance with the rules set out in our Memorandum and Articles of Association.


1. The following resolutions are set to be proposed at the AGM

  • The assessment of the director's report
  • Review of accounts for the 2020 financial year
  • The appointment of two new directors.

By order of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders Board

John Mettrick

John Mettrick acting on half of National Federation of Meat and Food Traders

26 March 2021


Members who are entitled to attend and vote at are entitled to appoint a proxy if they can’t attend the members meeting. A proxy can exercise any of your rights to attend, speak and vote at the meeting.

Proxies do not need to be members of National Craft Butchers, but they must be appointed by you not less than 72 hours before the meeting.

National Minimum Wage Increase

National Minimum Wage Increase

National Minimum Wage Increase

April will see the beginning of changes to NMW rates, as well as who is entitled to what. In his address to the House of Commons on 26 November 2020, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Government will be increasing NMW rates in 2021 as normal, and that the age threshold for the National Living Wage (NLW) will be lowered to cover 23-year-olds and above.

The table below highlights this change, showing the current NMW and NLW rates and the upcoming rates that will apply from 1 April 2021:


Current rates

Rates from 1 April 2021

Workers aged 25 and over (NLW)

£8.72 an hour


Workers aged 23 and over (NLW)


£8.91 an hour

Workers aged 21-24

£8.20 an hour


Workers aged 21-22


£8.36 an hour

Development rate for workers aged 18-20

£6.45 an hour

£6.56 an hour

Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17

£4.55 an hour

£4.62 an hour

Apprentices under 19, or 19+ but in the first year of the apprenticeship

£4.15 an hour

£4.30 an hour


It is crucial that employers pay their staff the correct minimum wage rates. Failure to do so could result in costly and time-consuming tribunal claims. The Government has also relaunched the naming and shaming scheme, after a two-year pause. This may make employers liable to more stringent penalties if they fail to pay the correct minimum wage to their staff. A list of 139 organisations who failed to pay their staff appropriate minimum wage rates was recently published by Government. Business Minister Paul Scully described this move as a wake-up call to “rogue” employers.

This came after a 2016-18 investigation found that a total of £6.7 million was left unpaid to over 95,000 employees by both large and small organisations across the UK. According to the Government, this offence occurred for a number of reasons; low-paid staff were obligated to cover costs of their work uniforms, training, or parking and employers failing to raise staff pay once they were eligible for a higher wage bracket.

Offending employers have been required to make outstanding wage payments to staff based on current minimum wage rates rather than those in place at that time of the underpayment. In addition, they have paid fines of 200% of the unpaid amount to the Government, at a cap of £10,000 per employee. 

It may be easy for the law to be misconstrued when it comes to minimum wage, especially as it changes on a yearly basis. However, it important that employers keep in mind that the onus remains on them to ensure that they are keeping in line with the law, as made clear by the Government.

Content provided by NCB partner - Peninsula Business Services, offering employment experise to our members. 

Full Members can contact Peninsula 24/7 for Employment and Health & Safety Advice and Support.

Plastic Bag Charge

Plastic Bag Charge

REMINDER: Plastic Bag “Tax” from May 2021

 In England small business’s (under 250 employees) have been exempt from the “tax” since the measure was first introduced 5 years ago, although some have decided to introduce a charge on a voluntary basis.

As from the 1st of April small businesses will no longer be exempt and the charge will double to 10p.

The proceeds are not collected by the government and instead businesses are encouraged to donate the monies collected to good causes. The government asks larger retailers to keep records and report each year on what they do with the money. The government then publishes an annual summary of how many bags have been sold, and the quantity of plastic saved from contaminating the environment, as well as how much money has been donated to worthwhile causes.

Small businesses are exempt from the record -keeping and reporting requirement but if you do wish to donate to local causes an easy and efficient way to keep track is add a carrier bag button to your till.

There is also an exemption for bags only containing unwrapped raw foods, including meat, in recognition of the food safety risk.

There is currently no exemption for biodegradable bags due to technical difficulties of measuring the actual biodegrade ability of different materials. Arrangements in Wales remain unchanged.

Budget 2021 Key Points for Butchers

Budget 2021 Key Points for Butchers

There was plenty announced in this weeks Budget, here are a few of the key points for Butchers to keep an eye on as more information and details are released.

  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to September 2021 across the UK.
  • An extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time.
  • 750,000 eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates relief.
  • Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000.
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.
  • More than doubling the legal limit for single contactless payments, from £45 to £100
  • Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the Government.
  • To balance the need to raise revenue with the objective of having an internationally competitive tax system, the rate of Corporation Tax will increase to 25%, which will remain the lowest rate in the G7. In order to support the recovery, the increase will not take effect until 2023. Businesses with profits of £50,000 or less, around 70% of actively trading companies, will continue to be taxed at 19% and a taper above £50,000 will be introduced so that only businesses with profits greater than £250,000 will be taxed at the full 25% rate.

Did you defer your VAT due to Covid?

Did you defer your VAT due to Covid? If so, now’s the time to start planning!

If you deferred your VAT due to Covid-19, you need to start planning!

Last year, to help businesses who were suffering with cashflow difficulties due to Covid-19, the Government announced that they would defer VAT payments for 12 months.

Now, nearly 12 months later, businesses who did defer their VAT payments need to start planning, as these payments will be due by 31st March 2021. However, businesses don’t need to worry about being hit with one massive VAT bill. They are able to spread the payments over the year by paying it in 11 interest free instalments. The earlier you join, the more months you can spread your payments across.

If you want to pay by instalments, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have deferred VAT to pay
  • Be up to date with VAT returns
  • Opt in before 1 March 2021 (this is not currently open, but will be soon!)
  • Pay the first instalment before the end of March 2021
  • Be able to pay the deferred VAT by direct debit

Additionally, an online service will open on 23 February 2021 and close on 21 June 2021. When it opens, you can join the scheme online quickly and simply on this link.

For further information about planning your VAT payments, speak to your local AIMS accountant.

NCB Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers Acting President John Mettrick Pleads for Action to save Small Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers are expecting proposals this week from FSA Operations on the future of meat inspection.

John Mettrick said, “The NCB team have been engaging positively with FSA and other government departments for some time now . They are listening and are sympathetic to our cause. However now is the time for the FSA to come forward with a firm declaration of intent.”

William Lloyd Williams, Policy director at NCB added, “We have all seen over the last 12 months how much the British public value their local butcher and farm shop. Without a thriving network of small and medium abattoirs the future of high quality, known provenance and low-carbon meat could be lost forever.

NCB Policy and Technical Manager pointed out that, “The UK authorities could do so much to help smaller abattoirs by introducing flexible, risk-based, less bureaucratic and IT savvy practices. It is particularly ironic that the EU has already moved in this direction but due to the timing of Brexit the UK has not been able to take advantage. It is imperative that Minister’s put meat inspection reform at the top of the agenda for post-Brexit legislation”.

John Mettrick concluded, “Craft Butchers are urging the FSA to bite the bullet and use this once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the prospects of the local abattoir sector.”

National Craft Butchers were founding members of the Campaign for Local Abattoirs and more recently the Abattoir Sector Group. The aim of these groups is to ensure the future of small abattoirs UK wide.

NCB hold regular Zoom meetings with abattoir members. These have been informal and popular events and members have been keen to feed in views and comments, which has informed NCB policy.

Local Abattoirs

Local Abattoirs

National Craft Butchers supports several of the conclusions in February’s Review of WATOK, we were especially glad to see the recognition the APGAW Small Abattoir report and the unique challenges faced by Local Abattoirs throughout the country.

The review identified a small number of instances where burdens might be reduced on businesses, including possible extension of the period of a Temporary Certificate of Competence for training purposes, currently this can only be extended for exceptional circumstances and this can be a challenge for those who are training at Local Abattoirs who offer discontinuous slaughter.  

To read the full post implementation review of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 please click here -

For more information on National Craft Butchers work supporting Small & Local Abattoirs then please see the following:

Craft Butcher Magazine:

Campaign for Local Abattoirs:

Abattoir Sector Group:

Industry bodies warn Secretary of State: uncontrolled conversions to residential will damage high streets.

Industry bodies warn Secretary of State: uncontrolled conversions to residential will damage high streets.


11 February 2021, London:

Leading industry bodies have issued a joint letter today to The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP – Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – to urge the Government to recognise that its proposals for a blanket permitted development right on our high streets, enabling conversions to residential without planning permission, puts the future of our town centres at serious risk.

The coalition of industry bodies – comprising 27 leaders from across the property, retail, leisure, hospitality and planning sectors – believes strongly that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside businesses and the community.

While the residential sector will play a vital role in future town centre recovery, the Government’s proposed new PDR will encourage delivery of new homes in an uncoordinated manner on our high streets, threatening the existence of community services, education, healthcare and leisure, among others.



The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

2 Marsham Street



11 February 2021

Dear Secretary of State,

Proposed new Permitted Development Right

As representatives from across the economy and society, we believe passionately that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside business and the community.

It is well-recognised by your department that the best town centres do not just happen but require active co-ordination at a local level. The NPPF policies support this approach, as do the objectives of the High Streets Task Force and the guidance for both the Towns Fund and the Future High Streets Fund. Blanket permitted development rights for E Use Class to residential would damage these objectives for relatively minimal returns on additional housing stock. 

We welcome Government recognition that our town centres must change, but an all-embracing permitted development right that allows most commercial buildings to be converted to housing risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus.

Putting ground floor housing in a random and uncontrolled manner within high streets does not draw footfall, does not support new businesses, reduces the potential for business growth and will undermine the viability of existing retail, cultural and commercial activities on the high street and remove convenience stores from local neighbourhoods. This will create a vicious circle whereby the reduced viability of the remaining commercial uses in turn threatens their existence and incentivises their conversion to residential.

At the neighbourhood level, we consider that local centres would be particularly at risk. The loss of local shops and services could precipitate their decline at a time when we are putting greater emphasis on the need for walkable neighbourhoods which provide a range of day-to-day needs in local centres. A change of use to housing is a one-way trip.

The policy puts the premises of small businesses at risk of redevelopment, will impact the real diversification of the high street and could threaten the existence of E Use classes uses such as financial and legal services, health centres, GP surgeries, Post Offices, community centres and hubs, gyms, leisure facilities, education, co-working spaces, and life sciences and deter other innovations coming into town centres.

Light industrial premises and the jobs and services they provide could be converted to residential, even though the locations could be far from the facilities and public transport residents need. 

Financially, the proposed permitted development right reduces local authorities’ ability to raise funds to mitigate the impact of conversions due to loss of planning gain, yet increases the pressure on local services, such as schools and other social infrastructure. In a relatively short time, it could also make a significant dent in local authority finances as council tax generally results in a lower contribution to local authority finances than business rates for the same size property.

You may be aware of concerns being raised about the lack of democratic oversight arising from the extensive use of permitted development rights. In the recent White Paper, you highlighted that the planning system has lost the public's trust. We are concerned that the extensive use of permitted development rights in the manner proposed without democratic oversight will lead to a further erosion of public trust and confidence in the planning system.

We therefore ask you to consider re-evaluating this policy. Instead, we believe more support should be given to local authorities to develop their own renewal plans, under clear direction in national policy. There is certainly the will and enthusiasm at a local level. What is often lacking is resource.

We all stand ready to support your aspirations for economic recovery, but we also all have an over-riding duty to our communities to build back better.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Harrison, Executive Director, ActSmart

James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores

Christopher Hall, Executive Director, Association of Cycle Traders

Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive, Association of Town and City Management

Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland

Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association


Melanie Leech CBE, Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

Jim Winship, Director, The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association

Karen Dear, Director of Operations, Craft Bakers Association

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, CPRE ‘the countryside charity’

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association

John Farrand, Managing Director, Guild of Fine Food

Mark Walmsley, Chair, Independent Retailers Confederation

Simon Quin, Co-Chair, Institute of Place Management

Bill Addy, Chief Executive, Liverpool BID Company

Peter Eversden MBE, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Corrine Stuart, Chief Executive, National Craft Butchers

Gary Wroe, Chair, National Association of Jewellers

Stuart Reddish, National President, National Federation of Independent Retailers

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, NMTF

Mike Kiely, Chair, Planning Officers Society

Prof. Alan M Jones, President, Royal Institute of British Architects

Matthew Howell, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, RICS

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association