Struggling dairy farmers across the UK are to receive a one-off payment to help ease their cash-flow problems caused by the volatile price of milk, the government announced today.
Farmers in the four nations of the UK will receive a cut of £26.2m between them. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) plans to ensure the aid reaches farmers' bank accounts in December.
In England and Wales, the one-off payment for an average-sized dairy farm would come out at around £1,800 per farmer.
In Northern Ireland farmers will be allocated, on average, just short of £2,000. In Scotland, because they have larger dairy units on average, it will be just over £2,500.
It comes after months of stress for the dairy sector, resulting in widespread protests and blockades directed at some of the UK's biggest supermarkets, including Morrisons. This grocer has today launched a premium "milk for farmers" range, which will return 23p per four-pint bottle of milk directly to farmers supplier and cooperative Arla.
UK farming minister George Eustice said: "We recognise that many dairy farmers in the UK are suffering financially at the moment and the support will offer some relief.
"Dairy farmers are a vital part of our £100bn food and farming industry and I’m pleased to confirm that ministers across the union have agreed to distribute the aid in the simplest way – linked to milk production - to ensure the RPA can get this money into farmers’ bank accounts promptly."
Eustice is this week attending the world's largest food and drink fair Anuga to promote British food and farming exports.
Environment secretary Liz Truss will also lead a trade delegation to China next month – including eight British dairy businesses - to promote quality British products to this growing market.
She said: "While it’s right that the immediate focus is on support for farmers’ cash-flow it is equally important that we help build for the long term. Developing a futures market will help farmers manage volatility and we are pleased that the commission is taking this forward.
"We are also working with the commission to look at ways of bringing greater fairness and transparency to the supply chain, using the success of our Groceries Code Adjudicator as a model that could benefit the whole of Europe."