National Farmers Union (NFU) Sugar and British Sugar are making a final call for eligible sugar beet growers to claim their share of historic overpaid levies being refunded by the EU Commission.

Growers of sugar beet during 1999 and 2000 are entitled to a repayment of both the overpayment and the interest accrued, and time is running out with the claim deadline of September 21 fast approaching.

Growers who believe they are eligible should contact the British Sugar levy helpdesk immediately to begin the claims process on: 01733-422153.

NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: “I’m pleased to see that 80% of eligible growers have lodged their claim but that means there are still plenty left.

With over £350,000 still unclaimed, I’m urging the final growers who were involved in sugar beet during 1999 and 2000 to claim their share.

“After the sugar industry successfully challenged this historic overpayment and succeeded in securing a refund, I would like all affected growers to benefit.”

NFU Sugar and British Sugar are working closely with Defra and the RPA to ensure growers receive prompt repayments.

How it happened

The EU Commission calculated the levies in 1999-00 and 2000-01 using a flawed method that overcharged the amount. Sugar processors in the EU challenged this and have succeeded in getting it revised following a number of EU court cases.

A proportion of the levy from the 1999 and 2000 crop years is, therefore, being repaid through the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Prior to 2006, the EU Commission collected a levy from all EU sugar processors to pay for the export of sugar outside the EU, with contributions made through a deduction from the beet price paid to growers.

In 2013, British Sugar obtained a refund of levy payments between 2001 and 2005 that the EU Commission had overcharged prior to the regime change that took place in 2006.

The beet sugar industry has continued to pursue the refund of the excess levies for the two years prior to 2001.