Group members include former Northern Foods chairman Lord Chris Haskins, former food and farming minister Sir Jim Paice and shadow food and farming minister Huw Irranca-Davies.
Under the chairmanship of food and farming champion Neil Parish MP, the Dairy All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) aims to debate key issues for the industry.
Inquiry in November
It would undertake a comprehensive work programme, including an inquiry in November this year into the ‘sustainable competitiveness of the industry in the UK’.
The group also plans to visit a dairy farm and processing plant in December where it will be briefed on the industry’s ‘Farm to Fork’ supply chain approach. At the same time, group members would be given a demonstration of latest dairy technology and developments on animal health and welfare, it said.
The group held its first meeting at the House of Commons today (September 10) and outlined its work programme. Dairy UK and The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) will provide the secretariat for the group, which has attracted parliamentarians from across the UK.
“The dairy sector is a great British industry which employs several thousands of people and produces a tremendous array of nutritious food,” said Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton. “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.
‘Extensive programme of work’
“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, ceo 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.”
Nick Everington, ceo of the RABDF, said: “RABDF is very supportive of the Dairy APPG. It will provide the industry with direct access to MPs interested in the dairy sector to discuss immediate issues, as well as those for the long term benefit of British dairy producers.”