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Farron welcomes government u-turn on EU dairy funding

January 27, 2010 12:00 AM

Speaking in Parliament this morning, South Lakes MP Tim Farron today welcomed the Government's u-turn on EU funding for dairy farmers, after Minister Jim Fitzpatrick confirmed that the Government had accepted £25 million in emergency funding following lobbying from the Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesman over many months .

Speaking today during a debate in Parliament on the future of dairy farming, Mr Farron criticised the Government for initially turning down their share of the £240million EU fund, which he highlighted could have been used to provide much needed financial assistance to farmers suffering from the recent collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain.

Mr Farron also called for the introduction of an Independent Food Market Regulator to ensure dairy farmers are not offered below market prices after figures uncovered by Mr Farron revealed that over 15,000 dairy farmers have left the industry since 1997.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"It's in everyone's interest to make sure that the dairy market is fair and that it encourages a growth of capacity to meet need rather than the current illogical downward spiral in production due to a failing market.

"I don't want to go backwards to a culture of subsidy, but if money from the EU is on offer, we'd certainly take it. Unfortunately when the Government was first made this offer, they turned it down. I'm delighted that they've now finally seen sense and hope that this funding will be used to set up new farmer co-operatives to allow farmers to secure a fairer deal from buyers.

"Dairy farmers in Cumbria are struggling and many are leaving the industry because big buyers are allowed to squeeze every last penny of profit out of the system without any thought of the long term sustainability of their supply chain.

"It's about time that the Government understood this and introduced an Independent Supermarket Regulator to bring fair trade for British dairy farmers and a fair deal for the consumer."