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|Legal status||Division of a non-departmental public body|
|Purpose||Potatoes in GB|
|2,900 potato farmers and 400 potato distributors/purchasers|
|Mrs Margaret Mogridge|
|The Board of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board(Chairman – John Godfrey CBE)|
|Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board|
|£6m (from the levy)|
The Potato Council is a trade organisation that aims to develop and promote the potato industry in Great Britain. Previously an independent non-departmental public body, it has been a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board since 1 April 2008.
Set up to replace the Potato Marketing Board, the Potato Council was originally known as the Potato Industry Development Council, and then the British Potato Council until April 2008.
It was set up by the Potato Industry Development Council Order 1997. It levied farmers under powers originally delegated from the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947 but now through powers granted to its parent organisation. It was also funded through the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) and the National Assembly for Wales Agriculture Department (NAWAD).
In 2005 a report by Daniel Lewis from the Efficiency in Government Unit (jointly sponsored by the Centre for Policy Studies and the Economic Research Council), called The Essential Guide to British Quangos, looked into the role of Quangos in British politics and potential efficiency savings that could be made. The report named the British Potato Council as one of the nine "most useless quangos". In 2008 it was merged with other similar levy-funded organisations to form the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, where it operates as a specialist division focused on the potato industry.
Even though it received its £6m funding in 2007 solely from British farmers, it was forced to drop the word "British" from its name due to EU rules. This was to avoid the impression that it receives state subsidies.
The Potato Council works to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of potato growers, while also promoting the alleged health benefits of potatoes. The Council invests in teaching children about healthy eating and showing how potatoes are grown. Many of the industry's farmers spend time working with children in schools and on their farms, showing how they plant, grow and harvest their crops.
Its publication is the Potato Weekly, which mainly lists current prices of potatoes per tonne. The Council visits agricultural shows and extols the virtues and health benefits of potatoes, with a resident cook on hand.
Its main functions are:
- To promote potatoes to customers at home and abroad
- To encourage and commission research into improving the efficiency of potato production and their sale
- To offer advice to other parts of government and other farming organisations
- To provide statistical information on the UK potato industry
The Potato Council raises all of its money from a compulsory levy paid to AHDB by potato growers and seed merchants and receives no funding from the government. The grower levy is £42.62 per hectare and the purchaser levy is £0.1858 per tonne. Its main base is at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, and there is a Scottish office in Newbridge in Midlothian and an experimental station (SBEU) in Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire.
The Chairman of the AHDB's Potato advisory board is Allan Stevenson who has a potato farm at Luffness in East Lothian.
Agricultural experimental station
The agricultural experiment station is located alongside the River Nene between the Sutton Bridge Power Station and the A17 road. It occupies the former RAF Sutton Bridge airfield site that was acquired in 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture. For many decades it has been at the forefront of research into potatoes in the UK.
- "The Potato Industry Development Council Order 1997". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "British Potato Council report and accounts 2007/2008" (PDF). Official-documents.gov.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2011.
- "Section 6, The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Order 2008". Government of the United Kingdom.
- Dan Lewis (1 February 2005). "The Essential Guide to British Quangos 2005" (PDF). Centre for Policy Studies. Efficiency in Government Unit. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- "UK's 'useless' quangos under fire". BBC. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- Richard Allen (11 February 2005). "Britain's most useless quangos named". The Times. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- "British Potato Council Report and accounts 2007" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- Rob Watts (19 August 2005). "Quangos: the runaway gravy train". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- The National Archives (The National Archives document reference No.: FY): Records of the Potato Marketing Boards, 1933–1997.
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