MAY 12, 2009: Shock figures show 8,000 dairy farmers have quit since 1997, and now the Liberal Democrats are calling for ‘immediate action’ to save Britain’s dairy industry.

Lib Dem Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron is urging the Government to introduce an ombudsman to regulate the food supply and restore confidence to the dairy sector. Figures released by Farming Minister Jane Kennedy in response to a Parliamentary question by Mr Farron revealed there are 10,000 holdings in England in 2008 where dairy is defined as the ‘prominent activity’. This compared with 18,000 in 1997. Mr Farron said the figures illustrated that dairy farmers were suffering a ‘crisis of confidence’. “These figures just emphasise what we already knew about the unfairness of the dairy industry,” Mr Farron said. “Dairy farmers work unbelievably hard, but no amount of hard work will compensate for the problems caused by huge increases in input costs and powerful supermarkets with no intention of sharing their profits with producers. “Its about time that the Government understood this and pressed on with plans to bring fair trade for British farmers and a fair deal for the consumer by introducing an Independent Supermarket Regulator.”

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