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Farming chiefs to meet Government for dairy crisis talks

Farmers blocked the Tesco distribution centre at Avonmouth on Sunday night. Credit: Farmer for Action

Farming industry leaders will meet with Government ministers today in a bid to thrash out a deal amid the ongoing dairy crisis.

A number of protests have been staged recently by farmers who say milk is being sold in supermarkets for less than it costs to produce.

Supermarkets Asda, Aldi and Morrisons have already agreed to pay farmers more for milk.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss will host a summit with the presidents of four farming unions in central London to discuss further measures to help the industry.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, Ms Truss said: "We need to make sure that our producers are able to meet the challenges they face so that they can capitalise on the growing interest in food provenance, standards and safety to capture more of the market at home and abroad."


Study: 88% of LGBT people in rural towns hit by hate crime

Around 88 per cent of gay people in villages and rural towns have been the victim of a hate crime, an expert has warned - with figures suggesting the problem is hugely under-reported.

Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, a lecturer at the University of Leicester's Centre for Hate Studies, interviewed 50 people as part of a new report into crimes targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

London Pride Parade 2014 Credit: PA

She said too many were left "lonely and isolated, with nowhere to turn" as hate crime had become an "everyday reality" for them - and they fear police will not take the report seriously.

There were many instances in which LGB and T people were being targeted by young people within their area. It would often start with young people shouting derogatory names and then escalate to where victims' houses were being vandalised.

Victims were often fearful about reporting these forms of hate crime in case it made the situation worse. It is these everyday experiences that are incredibly difficult to deal with - the drip, drip effect.

The impact can be devastating. Some LGBT people are scared to leave the house, feeling anxious, fearful and vulnerable.

It is a big issue.

– Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, University of Leicester

She said statistics suggested around 35,000 hate crimes against LGBT people went unreported every year.

Lib Dems: Double council tax for countryside second home owners

Owners of second homes in rural beauty spots could face paying double the rate of council tax under Liberal Democrat plans to ensure local residents are not priced out of the property market.

Lib Dems: Double council tax for countryside second home owners Credit: ITV News/ Louisa Felton

Nick Clegg is in St Austell this morning launching his party's countryside charter, with plans to create 300,000 new jobs in rural areas.

He spoke to ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan:

A source said "we are not saying this will be imposed" but local authorities in areas including Cumbria, Cornwall and Devon have said they would be interested in higher council tax rates to "discourage" second home ownership.

Rural areas play a large part in Britain's economy with the rural economy worth £210 billion. The Liberal Democrats want to unlock this potential so rural areas and the rest of the UK can thrive.

In order to prosper, rural areas need good local services, appropriate infrastructure and more housing.

– Nick Clegg
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