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Farron calls on Benn to act over Dairy Farmers of Britain collapse

July 2, 2009 12:00 AM

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron MP called on Minister Hilary Benn to intervene in the aftermath of the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain to safeguard Britain's dairy industry.

Despite the cost price of milk being around 24p per litre, some dairy farmers have been offered as little as 10p per litre of milk following the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain.

Mr Farron challenged Hilary Benn to prevent a "disastrous loss of dairy capacity" by underwriting the unpaid milk cheques owed to dairy farmers from May and by introducing a powerful food market regulator to prevent buyers abusing their position in the market.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain has come as a harsh blow for the dairy industry and a personal crisis for the individual farmers affected.

"But unfortunately this crisis has been a long time in coming after the Milk Marketing Board was scrapped by the Conservatives and its successor Milk Marque was broken up by this government.

"We now have a situation where dairy farmers are leaving the industry at a rate of two a day and where buyers are offering poverty rates to our dairy farmers. This cannot be allowed to continue.

"Hilary Benn should be doing two things. First, he should underwrite the unpaid milk cheques owed to dairy farmers from May to prevent a disastrous loss of dairy capacity. Then he should intervene to ensure fair trade for our farmers by preventing buyers abusing the unfair, unfree and imbalanced food market by introducing a powerful food market regulator."