Dairy cows being milked© Tim Scrivener

First Milk is to receive a Scottish government grant of about £450,000 to upgrade its Campbeltown Creamery processing facility.

The first instalment of the money is expected to be delivered within weeks and the money will be spent on a new whey plant and other improvements to the existing site.

See also: Scottish government may halve First Milk ferry bill

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead confirmed the funding during a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the future of the country’s dairy industry.

He said a key strand of the Scottish Dairy Plan was to support First Milk in transforming its business in Scotland. Under EU state aid rules, the Scottish government can provide a grant of up to 20% of eligible costs.

“I expect to be able to issue a new offer of financial support very shortly – likely to be around £450,000 – which will enable the first instalment of the grant to be paid within weeks and safeguard 25 jobs at the plant.”
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s rural affairs secretary

“I expect to be able to issue a new offer of financial support very shortly – likely to be around £450,000 – which will enable the first instalment of the grant to be paid within weeks and safeguard 25 jobs at the plant,” Mr Lochhead told MSPs.

Campbeltown Creamery is a lifeline for about 40 dairy farmers in Kintyre and the islands and the Scottish government has previously offered financial assistance for improvements at the plant, which have not been taken up due to changes in the business.

Mr Lochhead also confirmed that the Scottish government is continuing to consider the cost of ferry travel for dairy farmers on the islands.

He said Transport Scotland was conducting a comprehensive review of freight fares across the whole ferry network.