Subsidised private storage of meat, as proposed for stabilising the lamb market when output approaches the seasonal peak in the next few months, is less contentious politically than intervention. That's because the budgetary commitment is more modest and clearly defined, and commercial discipline is supposedly better maintained than when bureaucrats run almost open-ended buying programmes taking product into public coldstores. In principle, an Aid to Private Storage scheme for UK sheepmeat this autumn would take excess lamb off the market when the kill is heaviest and release it back into the trade early next year at a time of relative scarcity. But at least two objections are raised by critics. First, the stored sheepmeat might cause serious trouble in the imported lamb trade, by returning to the market near the seasonal peak of supply from New Zealand. The scheme could also create difficulties for home producers and processors whose businesses depend upon selling into the post-Christmas hogget market. Subsidised storage may prove inappropriate in present circumstances anyway, because the product in oversupply is seen as no more likely to find buyers next year than this autumn. The surplus animals are likely to be mostly very light lambs of under 14kg carcase weight. In normal times they would go to Mediterranean markets. UK traders say there is little or no potential demand for these carcases here: eye muscles would be too small, and processing cost per kg of saleable meat extremely high. Therefore the likelihood is of a purchase for destruction scheme. {{M/E MEAT }}