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Anne McIntosh: 89p for 2 litres of milk 'not enough'

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee says dairy farmers need greater protection in the face of sharp falls in the price of milk. It is urging the government to extend the Groceries Code Adjudicator's (GCA) remit to include dairy farmers in the scheme, which covers suppliers to the big supermarkets and retailers.

The Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh is chair of EFRA and she says the charging of 89p for two litres of milk in supermarkets is "not appropriate".

MPs urge government to protect dairy producers

Dairy farmers need greater protection in the face of sharp falls in the price of milk, MPs have said.

A report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee says fluctuating milk prices are driving dairy farmers out of business. Credit: Press Association

Since last summer the dairy industry has been hit by significant falls in milk prices in the face of rising supply and falling demand, particularly from China and as a result of the Russian trade ban.

The sharp reversal in fortunes, coming after prices hit their highest level for several years, has been driving dairy farmers out of business every week, with the total number in the UK falling to below 10,000 for the first time.

The parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee urged the Government to extend the Groceries Code Adjudicator's (GCA) remit to include dairy farmers in the scheme, which covers suppliers to the big supermarkets and retailers.

MPs also called for ministers to help dairy farmers tap into worldwide export opportunities and press for clearer "country-of-origin" labelling so that consumers know if they really are buying British, and for an EU review of the protection against very low prices.

The committee's chairwoman Anne McIntosh said: "The volatility of worldwide and domestic milk markets is making financial planning and investment impossible for small-scale producers unable to hedge against changes beyond their control.

"The vast majority of dairy farmers fall outside the protection offered by the Groceries Code Adjudicator. She can only investigate complaints involving direct suppliers to the big 10 supermarkets and retailers, and as most milk production is small-scale, that excludes most dairy farmers. The Efra committee thought that was wrong when the GCA was set up in 2013, and events since then justify our view that her remit should be extended to include small-scale suppliers, whether or not they have a direct relationship with the ultimate seller of their produce."

She also said the committee was "shocked" to learn that the adjudicator was still unable to levy fines on retailers because the Government had not yet set the level of fine she could seek, and called for the power to be activated before the general election.

In a report on dairy prices, the MPs also called on farmers to consider forming "producer organisations" to increase their clout in the market.

A Government spokesman said: "We understand the concerns of British farmers over the current pressures on milk prices caused by the volatility of the global market and we are doing all we can to help manage this. This includes giving dairy farmers the opportunity to unite in producer organisations so they have greater clout in the marketplace. We have also brokered a dairy industry code of practice on contractual relationships to improve transparency and give farmers a fairer deal, which now covers 85% of UK dairy production."

He added that it was important to remember that the long-term prospects for the dairy industry were good.

"We are helping the dairy industry to take advantage of opportunities such as opening new export markets and pushing for better country of origin labelling for British dairy products. We strongly support the work of the Groceries Code Adjudicator. Its jurisdiction is currently limited to the scope of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, and does not cover pricing - which is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority. There will be a statutory review of the GCA next year."

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North South divide widens, according to new report

The gap between towns and cities in the North and South of the country has dramatically widened, according to a report out today.

Hull which was named as one of the worst performing cities for new business Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Hull and Grimsby have been named as two of the worst performing cities for new businesses and job creation.

The Centre for Cities said they are lagging behind most others in the country - especially those in the South where 12 new jobs are created for every 1 job created in the North.

Grimsby has the lowest business growth figure in the country Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Grimsby has the lowest business growth figure in the country. And alongside Hull - the two rank fifth and sixth worst nationwide for jobs with a combined 15 thousand fewer positions than a decade ago.

The research also revealed Huddersfield has lost more than 10,000 jobs in just 10 years and is one of ten towns and cities with the lowest weekly earnings.

Bradford has seen the lowest rise in house prices of any other city in the country while Leeds is said to have one of highest levels of inequality.

Read: Find out how your city faired in the report at Centreforcities.org

Hull MP blasts plans to ban offshore windfarm

A Hull MP has attacked a Bill which would ban offshore wind farm production within 15 miles of the coast, describing it as very damaging.

A Hull MP has attacked a Bill which would ban offshore wind farm production within 15 miles of the coast, describing it as very damaging.

Karl Turner was responding to Tory backbencher Christopher Chope who said building more offshore wind farms is a "manic proposal" and should be halted because they are propped up with taxpayer subsidies while their profits are funnelled overseas.

Mr Chope said it was important to have an industrial strategy that does not rely on "indiscriminate" taxpayer subsidies.

His Control of Offshore Wind Turbines Bill would ban the production of offshore wind farms within 15 miles of the English and Welsh coasts and end subsidies.

Mr Chope said he wanted to stop further developments like the Navitus Bay wind farm proposed near his Christchurch constituency.

He said: "This Bill ... would ensure such obscenities would not be able to be brought forward again in the future with all the uncertainty that generates for local people.

"Surely we are mad if we are intending to invest as a country tens of millions of pounds in subsidising a development which is going to have an adverse impact on a world heritage site at the same time as we are quite rightly saying the world heritage site that is Stonehenge needs to be protected by having an enormos tunnel built nearby in order to reduce the impact on that site.

"We are quite prepared to put subsidies into saving one world heritage site whilst at the same time are using taxpayer subsidies to wreck another one. It seems to me mad and I'm very sorry if that happens to be a Government policy."

Moving his Bill, Mr Chope said the Government was also providing subsidies to pave the way for Siemens and ABP to invest a total of #310 million in wind turbine production in Hull.

But Labour's MP for Kingston upon Hull East Karl Turner said the Bill would be very damaging for his constituents.

Intervening as Mr Chope opened the Bill's second reading, Mr Turner said: "(The Bill) is very damaging to East Yorkshire and my region of Hull.< "We've just attracted a #310 million investment, joint investment, from Siemens and ABP, an investment into my area which will absolutely change the prospects for people in the city and the wider region.

"I think it's particularly disappointing that this Bill would very clearly damage something which has not quite started yet, that's the point."

Mr Chope replied: "Surely it's important that we should have an industrial policy in this country which is based upon not having the need for taxpayer subsidies, indiscriminate taxpayer subsidy.

"What you are describing is a situation where because the Government is intent on this manic proposal to build so many offshore wind farms and because most of the technology is from overseas and almost all the profits from those wind farms go back overseas, the Government has decided that the only way it can try to mitigate the situation, and it's only a small amount of mitigation, the only way it can do that is by trying to put additional subsidies into supporting the manufacturing industry in places like the area you (describe)."

Labour's David Hanson (Delyn) said Mr Chope represented a narrow viewpoint.

He said: "I take the view that offshore, as well as onshore, wind energy plays a valuable role in helping us meeting our environmental targets in energy production.

"It is also a strong key for the manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom in the future.

"My part of the world in North Wales is a significant contributor to the UK offshore economy.

"I happen to think we could be, should be and are world leaders in offshore wind."

Le Tour brings in record number of holidaymakers

A record number of tourists visited Yorkshire last year, due in no small part to the county hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

Le Tour brings in record number of tourists

From January to September overseas visits to Yorkshire went up by 12 per cent to 1.08 million and these tourists spent a total of £465 million. The strongest growth in visits came from Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and USA.

Holiday visits in particular, across the first nine months of 2014, saw a significant jump of 32 per cent and the amount spent by tourists whilst holidaying went up by 70 per cent. Strong holiday visit growth came from France, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and USA.

In the third quarter, covering July, August and September, there were 472,000 overseas visitors to the county, breaking previous records and up 19 per cent on 2013. A total of £230m was spent during this three-month period up one per cent on 2013.

Yorkshire is playing a big part in helping to drive Britain's record tourism boom. Last year's Tour de France Grand Depart showcased the best of this wonderful region to the world and now it is about keeping up that momentum. It is why we have launched a £10 million fund to help strengthen tourism in the North and why the Deputy Prime Minister and myself have met key stakeholders in Sheffield, including Welcome to Yorkshire's Gary Verity, to discuss what more can be done to help further growth in the region.

– Tourism Minister Helen Grant

Yorkshire’s global profile has never been higher – and this is further evidence of the huge beneficial impact of bringing the world’s largest annual sporting event to the county. We know when visitors from around the world come to Yorkshire to see it for themselves they fall in love with the county, which in turn helps drive up repeat visits. The new Tour de Yorkshire international cycle race starting this May will help us capitalise on the foundations already laid.

– Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire

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Farming minister boosts plans for Lincolnshire food industry growth

The farming minister George Eustice visited Holbeach today - to launch a new body that's been pushed by the Local Enterprise Partnership - and will be aimed at championing the area's food producers.

It's an area that's well known for its food production and farming, and an industry worth billions of pounds - but now there are ambitious plans to try to grow the food industry in Lincolnshire, over the next fifteen years.

The industry is currently worth £100 billion to the economy.

Kate Hemingway reports:

£400 million tourism development to bring 1300 jobs to Chesterfield

A £400 million tourism development for Chesterfield has been announced which will bring more than 1300 jobs to the town.

Work will soon get started on the Peak Resort project, an integrated all-weather, year round leisure, health, sport and education destination. It was formally announced by the Prime Minister during a visit to America.

Plans for the project - which is in the Chesterfield borough on the reclaimed opencast mining site, close to the Birchall Estate at Unstone - have been years in the making. It brings together hospitality, university, sport and medical expertise and will have 600 holiday apartments, hotel and hostel units with 250 woodland lodges.

This is a fantastic boost to Chesterfield and its economy and another sign of the confidence the business community has about investing in our borough. The development will provide 1,300 jobs when it opens, and hundreds more during the construction phase, so the opportunities for local people to get new jobs will be tremendous. And once completed the venue will bring thousands of extra visitors to our borough, improving Chesterfield’s tourism offer, with the knock-on benefits that this gives to our local shops and facilities.

– Cllr John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council

Work will start on site between March and April.

Hull MP: Morrisons store closure 'worrying' for city

Hull North MP Diana Johnson said the closure of a Morrisons store in the city is "worrying" and "bad news".

Hull MP: Morrisons store closure 'worrying' for city Credit: Press Association

Given the lack of good full-time jobs in the Hull area, especially in relation to the number of job-seekers chasing them, it's worrying that Morrisons at Northpoint is to close.

The process on what will happen to jobs at the store will now start, but this is clearly bad news for Northpoint and the Hull area.

It shows that in our area the economic recovery remains fragile and is held back by the spending power taken out of our local economy since 2010. We already have a problem with the loss of retail jobs and empty shops in Hull and we've lost major players such as Comet in recent years.

– Hull North MP Diana Johnson

Morrisons confirm two Yorkshire store closures

ITV News can confirm that two Morrisons stores in Yorkshire are set to close.

ITV News can confirm that two Morrisons stores in Yorkshire are set to close. Credit: Press Association

The Bradford based retailed said the stores at Bransholme in Hull and Ravensthorpe would close.

We have looked extremely carefully at whether the stores can be turned around but unfortunately we cannot see a way of making them viable. We are therefore proposing their closure. We are consulting with colleagues and unions to reduce the risk of redundancies and we are looking at ways of redeploying colleagues around our business.

– Morrisons spokesperson
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