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Farron backs call for more protection for dairy farmers

January 20, 2015 11:10 AM

TF ruralSouth Lakes MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, Tim Farron, has called for more protection for farmers against rapid cuts in milk prices. Tim's call backs that made by a group of MPs from the Defra select committee.

In a report, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on the Government to change its mind on including all dairy farmers, and other small-scale producers, in the protection against major retailers offered by the Groceries Code Adjudicator. The MPs also call on the Government to activate the Adjudicator's power to fine retailers - which can be done using a straightforward parliamentary procedure - before the election.

Tim is writing to Farming Minister George Eustice MP to ask the Government to activate those powers.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator was first proposed by Tim when he was the Liberal Democrats' Defra spokesperson, and he made sure that the policy was included in the coalition agreement.

Tim has also urged other producers and supermarkets to follow the lead of North West family run Booths supermarket who have promised to pay the highest farmgate price for milk among retailers.

Tim said: "This report shows the need to extend the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator as soon as possible. The adjudicator must include famers and must have the power to levy fines on the supermarkets and the middle men who break the code. I will be asking Defra ministers to do that as soon as possible.

"Consumers can play a role too by supporting farmers by buying milk from producers directly or from shops that are not treating it as a loss leader."