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Enforce dairy deal, says MP Tim Farron
THE new groceries code adjudicator should be given power to enforce milk agreements between producers, processors and supermarkets, according to Westmorland and Lons-dale MP Tim Farron .
He said the recently agreed voluntary codes on milk prices could too easily be reneged on by the big companies.
“The voluntary code goes some way towards solving the dairy indus-try’s problems, but it has no teeth,” said Mr Farron. “I would like to see the agreements backed up by legislation.”
He is advocating a clause be inserted in the bill which will set up the adjudicator.
“I have formally asked through Vince Cable’s department for this to be enshrined in the new legislation and not just remain a voluntary code of practice.
“I believe the adjud-icator should have the power to impose legal penalties, including fines, on companies that breach dairy agreements. The voluntary code is being presented as a great success — it isn’t. The only way it is helpful is if it has teeth.”
Meanwhile, members of the Dairy Coalition have renewed their challenge to milk buyers to urgently reverse the price cuts implemented in May and June.
NFU dairy board chair-man Mansel Raymond said there were positive signs in the strengthening of global and domestic dairy markets, as a result of global supply tighten-ing. “There are some signs of improvement in the global market that would justify price increases,” he said. “What’s more, it’s clear from recent media reporting of drought in the US that farmers’ costs are rising significantly.
“The price cuts made in May and June are still hurting; farmers need to see that money back in their businesses. I firmly believe that dairy farmers have the opportunity bring about change in the supply chain.”
He said milk buyers had an opportunity ‘to detail how they plan to give farmers the financial oxygen their businesses so desperately need’.