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MPs: Dairy farmers need greater protection against falling milk prices

It's been a volatile year for dairy farmers Credit: Reuters

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

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.

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Where's the cheapest fuel in the West Country?

The cheapest petrol in the region can be found in Bristol Credit: ITV News West Country

New figures show that unleaded petrol is cheaper in Bristol than elsewhere in the region. As fuel prices continue to fall, the lowest price for a litre of unleaded is currently 105.7p. That's according to the website petrolprices.com.

But prices could fall further as the cost of a barrel of oil continues to drop.

Christmas money worries for 1 in 4

More than a quarter of people in our region are worried about how they will afford Christmas this year, according to a new survey.

The Money Advice Service says almost a third of us will turn to credit cards to help fund our celebrations, while 1 in 25 will take out a payday loan.

It is urging shoppers to plan their festive spending carefully, including making a budget, comparing online and high street shops and looking for special offers.

Christmas shoppers should spend wisely Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dairy farmers call for fairer division of milk profits

Some dairy farmers are facing increasing financial hardship as milk prices drop Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

This lunchtime the Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is chairing a meeting to discuss the pressures facing dairy farmers.

Some say the price they're paid for milk has been cut by 20% in the past six months. Mark Humphry, who is chairman of the farmers providing milk to Bruton's Wyke Farms, says he'll soon be selling milk for less than it costs to produce. He blames the supermarkets.

From the milk that we produce in the dairy to the cheese that ends up on your plate, there should be enough margin there if it's shared evenly between the retailer, which is the supermarket, the processor and the farmer. We should all be able to make a living but there is a huge feeling at the moment that the retailer is taking the lion's share of it and not sharing it.

– Mark Humphry, Dairy farmer, Taunton
Mark Humphry is a Somerset dairy farmer

Recruitment Agency say downturn in tourism is greater than other years

Recruitment agency Manpower UK says the downturn in tourism employment across the South West this year is greater now than it has been for years. Manpower UK says their survey shows a majority of employers in the South West won't be taking on new staff.

James Hick is from Manpower UK:

They say the South West will lag behind the rest of the country. The powerhouse of London and the South East are predicted to do well and manufacturing in the East and West Midlands gives the area a huge boost. But employment growth in the South West is predicted to stall.

Manpower UK say some employers have stopped trying to find IT workers, engineers and financiers because they know the skills they're looking for don't exist. Contraction there and saturation of the tourism employment market explains why businesses aren't expecting growth in jobs.

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Unemployment rises in the South West

The number of people out of work in the South West has risen despite a decrease in unemployment nationally.

Official figures show the number of unemployed people in the region now stands at 137,000 - an increase of 1,000 from the previous quarter. According to the recruitment group Manpower, employers in the south west say they're unliikely to take on staff over the coming months.

Positive unemployment figures for South West

The latest jobs figures for the South West show 137,000 people were unemployed in our region for the months May to July 2014. This is a slight increase on the previous quarter of February to April when 136,000 were out of work.

The unemployment rate has risen 0.1% to 5.0%, which is still one of the lowest rates it's been for the last 6 years.

Across the whole of the UK unemployment fell by 146,000 to 2.02million in the three months to the end of the July. The unemployment rate fell to 6.2%, its lowest rate since the September to November 2008.

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