Scottish meat promotion will be severely hampered if producers and processors do not increase their levy rates, Quality Meat Scotland has warned.

QMS is planning to end an eight-year moratorium by increasing the levy paid by Scottish meat producers and processors by 93p per head of cattle, 13p per lamb and 21p per pig.

The move is still subject to approval by cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead, but QMS hopes to receive this in December with a view to levy increases beginning on 1 April 2010.

The organisation said it was responding to a forecast drop in income of £500,000 to £3.7m in 2009/10 compared with £4.2m in 2007/08 as a result of "inflationary erosion" and a fall in livestock numbers.

"We can only trim existing budgets for so long until we are at a stage of making choices between activities," said chief executive 'Uel Morton.