FIRST Milk, which has hundreds of farmer members in Cumbria and north Lancashire and owns the Lake District Creamery, has announced new milk price increases.

Producers in the co-op’s liquid pool began receiving 0.5p per litre more from Saturday, coming on top of a 1p increase in October and a 1.6p rise in November.

Suppliers to the firm’s cheese pool will receive a 0.5p per litre increase from January 1, on top of the 1p rise they secured in November and the 0.7p lift applying from December 1.

Producers in the co-op’s balancing pool received a 0.25p per litre increase on Saturday and will get a further rise of 0.25p on January 1.

First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe said: “These regu-lar moves demonstrate our determination to support producers through these challenging times by moving milk prices as far and as fast as we can.

“The liquid market has been bouncing around over the last six months.

“As recently as July, some companies had prices of below 25p per litre but there have clearly been increases since then, supported by a mix of tight volumes and stronger cream returns.

“With cheese stocks now tightening, we fully expect market prices for cheese to strengthen in 2013.

“We will continue to press for improved ret-urns, as well as positioning ourselves to utilise our milk across all the markets in which we operate to generate best returns for members.”

  • Meanwhile, Tim Farron MP is urging the Government to do more to help dairy farmers.

Accompanied by SLDC leader Peter Thornton, lo-cal NFU secretary Derek Lomax and South Lakes farmer Michael Packham, the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP handed in a petition in the form of more than 1,000 signed Fair Deal for Farmers cards at Downing Street.

Afterwards, the MP said: "The introduction of the Grocery Codes Adjudi-cator, which is currently going through Parliament, is an important step forward but I want to make sure that the Government doesn’t sit back and think that is enough.”