NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said there is little the Government can do to help dairy farmers in the battle against low milk prices, while urging consumers to buy local and buy British.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News yesterday, Mr Benyon, former parliamentary under secretary of state for natural environment and fisheries, said a large part of the problem stemmed from overseas, where there was a glut of dairy produce, in particular fresh and powdered milk.
“There’s not much politicians in this country can do,” said Mr Benyon, who added that some supermarkets treated milk as “a loss leader”.
He said: “We can look at this when Parliament returns in September.
“We need to make sure everyone in this country buys English produce – English cheeses are better than French.”
Lambourn dairy farmer, Roger Denton, whose father started a dairy herd and who keeps 100 Friesian cows, said the low milk prices had had a “drastic” effect on his business.
He said: “We are losing money and that’s all there is to it.
“Until they raise the prices, we are not gong to make any money.”
On whether he would be joining any protests, Mr Denton said: “I don’t think I will be leading my cows through the supermarket.”
He has, however, written to Mr Benyon on the issue, while blaming commodity traders for the low prices.
He said: “Traders don’t touch it, or make it, they trade in it. It’s totally, totally wrong.”
Mr Benyon said he shared Mr Denton’s frustrations but pointed out it was a European and global issue.
“It has to be sorted out on that level,” he said.