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First Milk delays payments by two weeks - MP points out direct debits don't wait two weeks!

January 8, 2015 12:22 PM

TF ruralFirst Milk will delay its members' next milk cheque by two weeks to help it balance its books. The payment due on 12 January will be pushed back to 26 January, and all subsequent ones will be made a fortnight later than planned. South Lakes MP Tim Farron has said 'when first milk defer their payments by two weeks they need to remember people cannot defer their direct debits - this threatens the future of many family farms'.

First Milk has also taken 1.1p/litre off the heavy February milk price cuts announced last week, meaning its liquid suppliers will be paid 21.2p/litre and manufacturing farmers will receive 21.57p/litre. Tim has written to the Chairman of First Milk, calling on him to scrap the proposed payment deferment.

Tim said: "This is awful news for many farmers and could put the viability of some farms at risk. When First Milk make a decision, they need to realise that farmers cannot just defer bills, direct debits or ignore the demands for payments.

"I am urging First Milk to reverse this decision, and work with any farmers worried about their business to make sure they help them."

Tim's letter to Sir Jim Paice, Chairman of First Milk is below:

Rt. Hon Sir Jim Paice

Chairman, First Milk Ltd

Cirrus House, Glasgow Airport Business Park

Marchburn Drive

PAISLEY

PA3 2SJ

Our Ref: Trav016/1/ac

8 January 2015

Dear Jim

I write to represent my constituents with regard to today's announcement by First Milk that the milk payment planned for 12th January will now be deferred until 26th January, with all future payments also being deferred by 2 weeks.

I appreciate the significant market pressure currently faced by First Milk, but I am extremely concerned that this move will put the viability of some dairy farms at risk. You will be well aware of the fine margins at which many fairy farmers operate and this delayed payment may well force some farms under.

I would therefore urge First Milk to reverse this decision and work with any farmers worried about their business to help ensure the ongoing viability of the UK diary industry.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely

Tim Farron MP