£3m new money announced for new and mobile abattoirs

Defra is set to provide £3 million to support the creation of new and mobile abattoirs in England through the Farming Investment Fund, announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at this week’s Farm to Fork Summit.

This funding is in addition to the existing £4 million Smaller Abattoir Fund announced in December 2023, which runs until 30th September 2024 and provides 50% grants to support the existing network of smaller abattoirs across England.

Commenting on the new fund, Megan Perry, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Sustainable Food Trust (SFT), said, “We are delighted the government are taking such significant steps to support this vitally important sector. New abattoirs are desperately needed to replace those that have been lost in recent years. The release of these funds, and work carried out between Defra and industry behind the scenes, indicates a clear recognition from government that smaller abattoirs are key to a sustainable and resilient local meat supply chain.”

Speaking to 8.9ha, Perry, who also helps co-ordinate the Abattoir Sector Group, said, “We’re asking for more detail, but this will be part of the Farming Investment Fund – it’s a ring-fenced £3m for new small abattoirs, including mobile abattoirs.

“It’s different from the existing Smaller Abattoir Fund – existing abattoirs can apply for up to 50% of capital investments for equipment to help improve productivity or enhance animal health and welfare.

“The new £3m fund is specifically for people setting up new abattoirs. Defra have been very good, really supportive – they really want this to work. We need to help them identify people who are serious. There are lots of people who’re interested, but there are a few people who are quite far along in their plans. We’re aiming to set up a meeting or a webinar where people can come and learn a bit more about what’s involved in setting up an abattoir.

“As far as I know it’ll be a fairly long window for applications. We’ve asked for information about the minimum and maximum grant that people can apply for within the new pot. A brand new abattoir costs around a million pounds so if the government funds say around 40-50% of that then they can potentially support the building of six new abattoirs. We’re awaiting confirmation on that.

“We’re keen to get this news out there and get people applying, because government have shown that they are willing to support the sector. This is quite crucial for both of the small abattoir funds. If we could show that these funds are used really well and there’s a significant demand for them, then I think we could make a good case for more funding in the future.”

Perry concluded by acknowledging that there are other issues that also need tackling alongside funding, such as labour and veterinary shortages and the regulatory environment.


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