Nigel will tomorrow lead a debate in Parliament on the plight of the dairy industry.
Mr Evans secured the debate in light of recent falls in milk prices and the announcement by the National Farmers Union that the number of dairy farmers in the UK has fallen below 10,000 for the first time.
Speaking from Westminster this morning Mr Evans said, “The current situation facing dairy farmers in the UK is an extremely difficult one. Despite milk prices being at a new high in 2013, dairy farmers are now facing renewed pressure on their incomes. This is a vital industry to the economy as a whole but also to rural areas such as the Ribble Valley, where dairy farms are the backbone of communities.
I recently spoke with a constituent of mine who told me that the price farmers received per litre of milk in 1994 was just over 24 pence. Had this price merely risen in line with inflation then farmers would now be getting in the region of 43 pence per litre rather than current average levels of 27 pence, with some receiving even less. There has been a price stagnation for the past two decades and it is no surprise that the dairy industry is struggling.
I hope this debate will raise awareness to this issue and that it will prompt a re-think from retailers and the Government, who need to support this crucial industry.”
Mr Evans is calling for an eight point plan to help the dairy industry:
1. The Groceries Code Adjudicator to be given more powers to protect dairy farmers.
2. The naming and shaming of supermarkets and wholesalers who pay less than cost of production for milk.
3. Assistance for farmers in new export markets. Trade sanctions on Russia and the reduction of demand from China has led to a volatile global market.
4. Help from banks over this short term challenge.
5. HMRC to look at profits over a five year period instead of three years to give fairer levels of taxation.
6. More stability on investment allowances for dairy farmers.
7. The EU intervention price of 15 pence per litre to be urgently reviewed as it is not an accurate figure.
8. Better and clearer origin of production labelling.