Alan Reid MP has called in the House of Commons for help from the Government on the current crisis in the dairy industry.
And he wants to see the big supermarkets held to account for their pricing.
Mr Reid told the House: "Dairy farmers in Argyll and Bute produce a very high quality product, but the falling price of milk is causing them and the entire British dairy industry serious problems. May we please have an urgent statement on what the Government can do to help this iconic British industry to survive? Extending the scope of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to include dairy farmers is one action that could help."
The Adjudicator was established to enforce the groceries code of practice which ensures suppliers of the country's major supermarkets are treated lawfully and fairly. However, because most dairy farmers don’t sell direct to the supermarkets, the Adjudicator can’t help them.
Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague agreed that Mr Reid raised what is a very important issue in many parts of the country.
"Legislation should be introduced to enable the Groceries Code Adjudicator to impose a financial penalty. The Government are also considering the GCA’s remit, which is subject to a statutory review in March next year. We do understand the concerns of British dairy farmers about the current pressures on milk prices," Mr Hague said. "The only good news is that, of course, exports have risen and we are giving dairy farmers the opportunity to unite in producer organisations, which in the longer term could give them greater clout in the marketplace.”
Mr Reid said afterwards,
"The present price levels are unsustainable and driving farmers ever closer to the brink of financial ruin," he said. "Argyll & Bute is home to some of the finest dairy herds in Scotland, built by generations of farming families and their loss would be a severe blow to the local economy as well as to the UK national herd.
“The Government must not wait until next year to review the Adjudicator’s remit. This should be extended to include farmers as soon as possible.”