COMMONS

The Voluntary Code of Practice in the dairy sector

Current status: Report published and Government Response received

Dairy farming accounts for 17% of UK agricultural production by value and is the single largest agricultural sector at £3.7 billion. Wales has about 1,900 dairy farmers—about 20% of the total amount in England and Wales—yet the number of farmers has declined steadily since the end of the last century. There are now 40% fewer dairy farmers in Wales compared to 2002.

During the summer of 2012, the industry suffered a major crisis caused by price cuts announced by retailers and processors. Although some price cuts were subsequently withdrawn, the long-term sustainability of the industry is uncertain. The industry is operating at a £1.2 billion trade deficit. In July, farm leaders and dairy processors agreed the principles for a new voluntary code of practice on contractual relationships in the dairy sector. The UK and Welsh governments support this move. The UK Government is also providing £5 million worth of new funding under the Rural Economy Grant scheme to assist dairy farmers.

Publications

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    Glossary

    • Reports and associated evidence – Reports of Committee inquires. This category may also include Special Reports where they are used by a Committee to bring matters relating to conduct of its business to the notice of the House.
    • Responses to Reports - Responses may be published as a Special Report, or as a Command Paper. They may also be appended to a Report should the Committee have substantial comments on the Response, in which case they can be found listed under Reports. 
    • Other oral and written evidence - Evidence taken by the Committee that has yet to or did not result in the publication of a Report. This includes transcripts of recent meetings.
    • Estimate Memoranda - An Estimate memorandum is an explanatory note that accompanies a government department’s estimate (a means by which a department seeks authority from Parliament for its spending plans).
    • Correspondence - Correspondence sent from or received by the Committee or its Chair.