The MP for Copeland has welcomed government support for the dairy industry amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The government has now relaxed elements of UK competition law to support the dairy industry through the coronavirus outbreak. This will allow retailers, suppliers and logistic services to work together.
While this has already allowed the dairy industry to redirect some of their supplies to retailers, the announcement will enable further collaboration between dairy farmers and producers so they can avoid their surplus milk going to waste.
The new legislation will allow the industry to adapt to changes in the supply chain including decreased demand from the hospitality sector and reduced collection by retailers who have had to close.
Mrs Harrison said: “In Britain, the dairy trade is the largest agricultural sector, playing a vital part of our food and farming industry. It is paramount that dairy farmers are not damaged during this challenging time.”
"The current situation has highlighted just how important British farmers and procedures in the UK are. I am extremely passionate about the importance of all our local farmers, providing fresh and nutritious milk to the population is crucial, and would like to thank them in their efforts to ensure food supplies continue.”
"I have been speaking on a regular basis to my colleagues at The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and key stakeholders in the dairy industry on the behalf of our farmers about the effect that the Covid 19 outbreak is having on their business and I will continue to raise their concerns to Ministers."
Dairy UK and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will now lead work to bring the industry together to identify spare processing capacity, how to stimulate demand and how production could be temporarily reduced.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“Our dairy industry plays a crucial role in feeding the nation and it is essential that they are able to work together at this time.”
"We’ve heard loud and clear our dairy farmers’ concerns which is why we are further suspending competition rules law to allow dairy farmers to work together on some of the most pressing challenges they are facing. I am also urging farm businesses to access the loans that are available from their bank to support them in this period.”
"We welcome our farmers’ heroic efforts in ensuring food supplies remain resilient and will continue to support them through this difficult time."
Mrs Harrison has pledged to continue to amplify the voice of Cumbria's farmers following the outbreak.
Any local farmers who require any help are encouraged to get in touch by emailingTrudy.Harrison.firstname.lastname@example.org.