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Brown to meet industryover Milk Marque fiasco

08 July 1999
Brown to meet industry
over Milk Marque fiasco

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown is to hold an emergency meeting with dairy processors and farmers representatives over the Milk Marque fiasco …more…



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Brown to meet industryover Milk Marque fiasco

08 July 1999
Brown to meet industry
over Milk Marque fiasco

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown is to hold an emergency meeting with dairy processors and farmers representatives over the Milk Marque fiasco …more…



todays news



 on GM crops – CLICK HERE

Euro1 = £0.654 £1 = Euro1.529 
Help a child and win a Fastrac
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Brown to meet industryover Milk Marque fiasco

08 July 1999
Brown to meet industry
over Milk Marque fiasco

By Johann Tasker

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown is to hold an emergency meeting with dairy processors and farmers representatives over the Milk Marque fiasco.

He will have talks with the Dairy Industry Federation and representatives from the farmer-owned co-operative next Monday (12 July).

Mr Brown will attempt to find a mutually acceptable way for Milk Marque to carry on selling milk in the wake of this weeks damning report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC).

The report found that Milk Marque had abused its dominant market position to force up milk prices, and recommended that the cooperative be disbanded.

Trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers said he accepted that milk prices had been forced up, but chose to only reform Milk Marque.

The controversial decision created confusion among dairy producers, and some within the industry privately see it the spelling beginning of the end for Milk Marque.

Farmers are devastated in the belief that milk prices in Britain are now bound to fall again over the coming months, despite already being the lowest in Europe.

Dairy companies however are pleased that the government has accepted an MMC recommendation to limit Milk Marques future role in milk processing.

Milk Marque has two modest-sized cheese plants, but was planning to build a factory which would have processed 1 billion litres of milk a year.

Mr Byers decision only to limit Milk Marques powers has also kept commentators guessing about his real reason for refusing to disband the co-operative.

Such a move is contrary to the governments aim of increasing competition among companies and making sure that political interests dont hamper business.

The Financial Times today reveals that Mr Byers path of reform for Milk Marque ignores recommendations made by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as well as the MMC.

But the minister declined to declare he also had had advice from the OFT when he announced his decision earlier this week, reports the newspaper.

Fear of losing the rural vote is cited by the FT as one reason behind Mr Byers decision not break up Milk Marque.

Another possible reason is that Milk Marque might have requested a judicial review of Mr Byers decision – which could have delayed it as long as two years.

The governments position on the farmers co-op appears to have confused both ministers and union representing Scotland, according The Herald

Ross Finnie, rural affairs minister for the Scottish Executive, said he wanted clarification on how exactly the proposals were intended to improve competitiveness.

Jim Walker, president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland, said the notion that Milk Marque has been the problem was “quite extraordinary”.

He wants an urgent investigation into the entire production and distribution chain, including the milk processors which buy their milk from Milk Marque.

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