Two North East MPs have become members of a new parliamentary group working to support the UK dairy industry.
The Dairy All Party Parliamentary Group, which includes members from both Houses of Parliament and across the political spectrum, will focus on supporting the development of a sustainable and profitable dairy supply chain, while debating key issues for the sector.
Among its current membership are Nick Brown MP, a former Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who has represented Newcastle Upon Tyne since 1983, and Mary Glindon, who has been MP for North Tyneside for the past four years.
Also contributing will be Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, who represents Bridgwater and West Somerset but has strong historical links to the North East, having served, for example, on Tynedale District Council between 1989 and 1995.
Under the chairmanship of food and farming champion Neil Parish MP, the group will undertake a comprehensive work programme, including an inquiry in November into the sustainable competitiveness of the industry in the UK.
The following month, the MPs will also visit a dairy farm and processing plant to be briefed on the industry’s ‘Farm to Fork’ approach. They will also view demonstrations of the latest dairy technology and developments in animal health and welfare.
Dairy UK and The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers will provide the secretariat for the group.
Neil Parish MP said: “The dairy sector is a great British industry which employs several thousand people and produces a tremendous array of nutritious food.
“It is right that this contribution to the nation’s health and economy is recognised by parliament and that all political parties are fully up to speed with developments within the dairy industry.
“We have an extensive programme of work and I am delighted that so many parliamentarians have embraced the establishment of this group so enthusiastically.”
Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “The establishment of an APPG on dairy is a step change in the recognition of the importance of the industry and the wide range of safe, wholesome and nutritious foods it produces.
“We want to improve the understanding of the issues and challenges dairy encounters through active engagement and unprecedented dialogue between members of the APPG, the dairy industry and independent contributors.
“This will be in the interest of industry as it continues to serve the needs of consumers across the UK.”