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Bill Cash supports dairy farmers over industry concerns in Slindon meeting

Press release 05/08/09       

Local MP, Bill Cash met with dairy farmers from across Staffordshire in Slindon village yesterday evening. Before the parliamentary recess, Cash had put down an Early Day Motion (EDM 1724) calling for the Government to address the serious problems faced by the UK dairy industry. The EDM reads: 
 
“That this House notes the severe problems facing the UK dairy industry; is dismayed by the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain; and urges the Government to support those numerous producers affected, whilst also requesting urgent action to be taken in tightening up EU and UK labelling requirements on all products of animal origin including dairy products, particularly cheese, so that misleading labelling is stamped out and that consumers can make informed choices about the dairy products they buy, and can clearly identify the country in which the animal was reared, and raw material produced and processed.”
 
Bill Cash MP said “The Government must recognise that there are severe problems facing the UK dairy industry, and following the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain, the Government is obliged to support the affected producers.
 
Cash reasserted his view at the meeting in support of local dairy farmers and stated that they needed urgent Government help at this time. On the same day, the Competition Commission stated that they would press for an Ombudsman to arbitrate between suppliers and farmers and the supermarkets, which would ensure a fairer price for milk. Cash reaffirmed his commitment to the dairy farming industry and also to the eradication of TB.


Bill Cash raises concerns in European committee debate on behalf of Staffordshire dairy farmers

Press release 17/03/11

 
In a European Committee debate at the House of Commons (European Committee A) on Tuesday 15 March 2011 relating to milk and milk products, Staffordshire MP, Bill Cash, who is also Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, raised several concerns with the Minister of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, particularly relating to the code of practice, milk contracts, supermarkets and monopoly on behalf of Staffordshire dairy farmers.
 
In the debate, Cash made the following points:
 
Mr William Cash (Stone) (Con):  Following on from that point, and also that made by my hon. Friend—he is a friend—the hon. Member for Luton North, having many dairy farmers in my constituency I am naturally very conscious of the fact that supermarkets have many of them over a barrel. I welcome the idea that there should be this code of practice, and follow-through by the ombudsman, in the legislation that would follow. However, is it also not the case that dairy farmers are locked into contracts that compel them to send their market to one buyer, which is the monopoly problem, and that because milk is a perishable product that must be collected every day they do not have the freedom to contract that many others have? Therefore it is important, irrespective of the problems of the competition policy, to ensure that there are compulsory written contracts that mean that the British dairy farmer benefits from these proposals. 
 
... Mr Cash:  I would simply thank the Minister for concentrating on fairness or unfairness, which lies at the heart of the question of competition. May I refer to a portrait just in front of him that shows Palmerston taking a line on the commercial treaty with France, which dealt with fair competition and trade? Behind him is John Bright arguing against the iron hoof of monopoly. This is the essence of the problem in a nutshell: we must find a way of ensuring that supermarkets do not continue to have a commercial monopoly over dairy farmers, in a way that has done a great deal of damage to them over the past generation. 
 
… Mr Cash:  On the basis that price is written into the milk contract, does the Minister agree that an agreed method of price variation ought to be written into it? Many people have suggested that that would be a good idea. 
 
Click here to read the debate in Hansard. 


Bill Cash MP slams new EU deal for British dairy farmers

Press release 20/10/09

 
As farmers protested outside talks in Luxembourg against low milk prices and plummeting incomes, Bill Cash MP said:
 
“Given the historic failure of European Union interference and subsidies in agricultural markets, I am hardly surprised that the EU Agriculture Commissioner wants to doll out £250 million in next year's EU budget to prop up the dairy sector. It is a sham. It is not in the interests of the UK dairy sector as a whole or local dairy farmers across Staffordshire.” 
 
“This new top-up simply means that Brussels wants to continue the old regime of subsidies, which is not in anyone’s interest in the United Kingdom.”
 
It follows Mr. Cash’s earlier meeting in Slindon with dairy farmers from across Staffordshire, when he wrote to the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Hilary Benn, providing specific supply margin data which demonstrates the real challenges created for dairy producers.
 
Cash said: “The impact of the existing system is far reaching across the Staffordshire rural economy and is increasingly unsustainable for many businesses.
 
Before the parliamentary recess, Cash had put down an Early Day Motion (EDM 1724) calling for the Government to address the serious problems faced by the UK dairy industry. The EDM reads: 
 
“That this House notes the severe problems facing the UK dairy industry; is dismayed by the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain; and urges the Government to support those numerous producers affected, whilst also requesting urgent action to be taken in tightening up EU and UK labelling requirements on all products of animal origin including dairy products, particularly cheese, so that misleading labelling is stamped out and that consumers can make informed choices about the dairy products they buy, and can clearly identify the country in which the animal was reared, and raw material produced and processed.”


Bill Cash MP requests that Agriculture Minister respond to local farming concerns

Press release 16/06/09       

Following up on a letter on local farming concerns which Bill Cash had sent to Agriculture Minister, Hilary Benn MP, on 1st April, and on which he had not yet received a reply, Cash asked the new farming minister, Jim Fitzpatrick for an urgent response to the concerns.
 
On the evening of Monday 15 June, in the House of Commons debate on Rural Communities, the following exchanges were recorded:
 
Mr. Cash: With respect, the Minister has already said something about his predecessor, and I rise to make a simple point. I wrote to DEFRA on 1 April with a detailed request for certain pieces of information that are highly relevant to this debate. I still have not received a reply, and on behalf of my farmers, who have been having a very difficult time, I ask the Minister to make sure that I receive one as soon as possible.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I am only too pleased to apologise to the hon. Gentleman on behalf of the Department, and I will endeavour to look up his correspondence and respond at my earliest opportunity. . . .
 
Only 10 minutes after the parliamentary debate, an official from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs telephoned Mr. Cash’s office to obtain the unanswered letter, and promised to have a response drafted urgently. 
 
Mr. Cash awaits that urgent response so that he can get to the bottom of those ongoing concerns within the local farming industry.


Bill Cash MP puts down Early Day Motion to address severe problems in UK dairy industry

Press release 23/06/09       

Stone MP, Bill Cash, last night put down an Early Day Motion (EDM 1724) calling for the Government to address the serious problems faced by the UK dairy industry. The EDM reads: 
 
“That this House notes the severe problems facing the UK dairy industry; is dismayed by the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain; and urges the Government to support those numerous producers affected, whilst also requesting urgent action to be taken in tightening up EU and UK labelling requirements on all products of animal origin including dairy products, particularly cheese, so that misleading labelling is stamped out and that consumers can make informed choices about the dairy products they buy, and can clearly identify the country in which the animal was reared, and raw material produced and processed.”
 
Cash’s Early Day Motion comes ahead of the Conservatives ‘Dairy Summit’ to be held at the House of Commons on 17 July.
 
Bill Cash MP said “The Government must recognise that there are severe problems facing the UK dairy industry, and following the collapse of the co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Britain, the Government is obliged to support the affected producers.
 
“It is also well known in the UK farming sector that the Government has missed the boat on food labelling procedures. That must be put right and my Early Day Motion requests that urgent action is taken in tightening up the labelling requirements on all products of animal origin including dairy products, particularly cheese, so that we no longer have this misleading labelling.”





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