By FWi staff

HANDS off the Scottish co-operatives, was the message given by the Scottish NFU last week.

In an attempt to maintain the Scottish milk co-operatives, union vice-president Peter Chapman and Milk Committee convener Tom Thomson visited London to take their case to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

The MMC, who are currently investigating the supply of raw milk in Great Britain, were told that a system of selling milk in England should be devised. This should not only offer fair trading conditions to processors, but also give fair returns to producers.

“The price struck is a benchmark for Scotland,” said Mr Chapman. “Its a complex matter, but the MMC must recognise the influence which Milk Marques selling system has had on the Scottish co-operatives milk price agreements.

“Further development of milk co-operatives is paramount if the UK dairy industry is to remain a credible source within the European scene,” warned Mr Chapman. “And we told the MMC that these co-operatives must have the freedom to become more actively involved in milk processing.”

He stressed that he would oppose any recommendations which could withdraw the right of producers to choose who they sell their milk to, or any decision which would impose restrictions on Scottish co-operatives choice of selling systems.

“It has been nearly 10 months since the start of the MMCs inquiry, and I hope this matter will now be drawn to a speedy conclusion.”