MMC report ignored need to add value NFU

10 August 1999

MMC report ignored need to add value — NFU

By FWi staff

THE Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the milk industry failed to grasp the need for farmers to add value to their product, alleges the NFU.

On that basis, the Union is to seek a judicial review of the reports recommendations, revealed in July.

Tim Bennett, NFU deputy president believes the report threatened the right of UK farmers co-operatives to add value to milk by investing in processing capacity.

“We regret that it is necessary for us to contemplate legal action, but we believe that the principles it involves are fundamental not just for milk producers, but for all farmers and growers,” he added.

Lawyers will claim the report was based on information which had become outdated and had little regard to market conditions across Europe.

The NFU has written to the secretary of state and the chairman of the Competition Commission, successor to the MMC, informing them of its intention to lodge an application for a judicial review of its recommendations and decisions.

A spokeswoman from Milk Marque said that, although the co-operative has had a number of meetings with the NFU, this action was very much the Unions decision.

Milk Marque has yet to announce what action it will take following the report, although she said that an announcement would be made within weeks.

“The Monopolies and Mergers Commission report is fundamentally flawed and a legal challenge remains one option for Milk Marque,” she said.

“The board of Milk Marque is actively considering all available options to move forward in the best interest of our members.”

A spokesman from the Dairy Industry Federation declined to make any comment on the action taken by the NFU.

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