Bute MP joins calls to help dairy farmers

Argyll and Bute Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid.
Argyll and Bute Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid.

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid has joined the calls for more government help to see Bute’s dairy farmers through the current milk price crisis.

Mr Reid told a debate in the House of Commons that EU intervention should be seen as an option until the market situation improves.

“In my own constituency,” Mr Reid said, “dairy farmers are mainly concentrated in Kintyre and Bute.

“While there is widespread agreement that dairy demand will outstrip supply in the long term, creating real opportunity for the UK dairy supply chain in the future, clearly farmers have to survive the current crisis.

“EU intervention should be considered until the situation with the protracted Russian import ban and other market forces are resolved.

“Price intervention is currently set too low to have any effect before the situation becomes even more serious.

“I very much welcome the Government’s decision to grant the Groceries Code Adjudicator the power to fine supermarkets that have breached the Groceries Code. I hope very much that this will act as a deterrent to supermarkets.

“However, many dairy farmers don’t currently come within the scope of the Groceries Code, because they don’t sell directly to the supermarkets. The Code must be extended to include complaints from indirect suppliers, such as dairy farmers.

“I believe the Code is not due to be reviewed until next year. I urge the Government to bring this review date forward.

“The Adjudicator should be able to be proactive and be seen as a genuine threat to those who breach good practice. In times of price falls it is the primary producer, the dairy farmer, whose businesses are impacted by the low prices.

“Those further up the supply chain pass price cuts down the chain, but the long suffering dairy farmer has nobody else to pass a price cut to and they have to take the hit themselves.

“HMRC have got to be more helpful and allow dairy farmers to spread profits over several years.”