Robert Wiseman cancels milk price cut

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Britain's biggest dairy firm has cancelled a planned milk price cut following protests by farmers.

Robert Wiseman Dairies had planned to cut prices by 1.7p per litre from 1 August following a collapse in the value of cream.

But it has now said it will hold prices at 26.43p per litre for farmers on its standard contract next month.

Hundreds of farmers staged demonstrations outside Robert Wiseman dairies and a depot on Thursday.

Farmers For Action (FFA) claimed they had shut Robert Wiseman dairies in Bellshill, in North Lanarkshire, East Kilbride and a depot in Cambuslang, both in South Lanarkshire.

The protests followed a week of blockades by farmers, who are calling for all price cuts to be reversed amid warnings the plans will force many out of business.

'Exceptional circumstances'

In a statement confirming that it will hold the milk price next month, Robert Wiseman Dairies said: "The decision takes account of concerns raised since we announced a 1.7ppl reduction in our ex-farm price from 1 August 2012.

"This followed the significant loss of income we suffered further to the substantial decline in cream values experienced since the beginning of the year which left us unable to sustain the milk price we were paying.

"The announcement of the reduction though coincided with a period of adverse weather conditions and rising feed costs for dairy farmers which we recognise has caused difficulties for farmers.

"We have been engaging with our customers with regards to the exceptional circumstances facing the supply chain and the need for urgent and significant support. From our discussions to date, we are confident this support will now be demonstrated."

Farmers For Action spokesman John Cumming welcomed the announcement from Robert Wiseman Dairies.

He said: "We're quite glad that we've got a bit of stability in the market place. It is a move in the right direction.

"But the price of milk will still have to go up because the price we're being paid is well below the cost of production.

"In order for the dairy industry to survive the cost of milk is going to have to match the cost of production."

Robert Wiseman Dairies has its headquarters in East Kilbride.

Its decision came the day after another dairy firm, Dairy Crest, also bowed to pressure and agreed to put its planned milk price cut on hold.

The group is postponing the 1.65p a litre reduction due from 1 August for two months to hold talks with farmers over the way forward.

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