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Cumbrian minister promises better times ahead for farmers

The Penrith MP and junior Environment Minister Rory Stewart has promised there will be better times ahead for dairy farmers at a meeting in Cumbria. The MP told around 200 farmers that world markets will pick up and that the Government will do all it can to prevent volitility in milk prices. Mr Stewart addressed the farmers at a crisis meeting at Rheged near Penrith this evening. The crisis in dairy farming has come about because many farmers say the price of milk is less than the cost of production.

There is of course light at the end of the tunnel. It is true that the global population is growing. It is true that demand for milk goes up all the time in places like China. The first thing that anyone in China or Indonesia wants to do when they grow weathy is buy milk and milk products. The secretary of state has also been very detirmed to get closely involved in whether we can set up proper hedging on prices so comodity prices jump around up and down year by year, can we set up a proper market so that's averaged out and smoothed over so people aren't going from boom to bust."

– Rory Stewart MP. Penrith and the Border


Latest report: Rory Stewart in Iraq

Many MPs are using the summer recess to fly off on holiday to get a break. But one of our MPs has taken a plane straight to Iraq instead, to see for himself the war and suffering spread by Islamic militants.

Penrith and the Border's Rory Stewart is Chair of Parliament's Defence Committee and has spoken to ITV News from Irbil, where he's gathering vital information.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand reports:


Rory Stewart is in Iraq as the humanitarian crisis deepens

Cumbrian MP Rory Stewart is in Iraq on a fact finding mission as the humanitarian crisis there deepens.

Mr Stewart is the first British MP to go out to the country since the current crisis began

Islamic extremist forces have taken over control of much of the north of the country and have been accused of atrocities.

The MP for Penrith and the Border is now with the Iraqi army on the front line, about 45 miles from the town of Irbil. Pam Royle spoke to him by phone and asked him what conditions are like where he is.

MP Sleeps in Highest, Coldest Place

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart will spend this Saturday night sleeping in one of the highest and coldest places in England to raise awareness of Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.

"Cumbria has some of the highest instances of fuel poverty in the country. Our traditionally built homes are difficult to heat and frequently off the mains gas grid, which make heating them very expensive.

"When your income is fixed, as is the case for many retired, elderly people, rises in energy bills can quickly become unaffordable, and the only choice left in the worst cases is to endure a cold home. It is completely unacceptable that an average of 300 people in Cumbria will die from the cold this Winter."

– Rory Stewart, MP Penrith & Border (Conservative)

He'll be joined by CCF's Chief Executive Andy Beeforth and supported by members of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team. They're hoping it will encourage people to sign up for a similar challenge 'The Big Sleep' in a field beside the Low Wood Hotel, Windermere, on Saturday 15 February.

This weekend, we’ll be ensuring the safety of these brave souls by accompanying them to England’s highest, coldest, stone-built bothy, over 2,700 feet up in the Pennines. It’s no mean feat as the temperature will be well below zero and winds have been recorded at 113mph. The exact location for this Saturday's sleep out is a closely guarded secret as we don't want to encourage people to head out onto the fells overnight in winter. Instead we’d say consider joining The Big Sleep - a much more civilised sleepover beside the Low Wood on February 15.

– John Whittle, Penrith Mountain Rescue Team

I’d like to say thank you to all our donors who have helped raise more than £52,000 to keep older people warm this winter. If you have your own camping gear and can bear the cold for one night to help raise even more money for older people, please join us for The Big Sleep on Saturday 15 February. We'll try to keep our minds off the weather by watching a family friendly film on an outdoor cinema screen. All the information you need and the names of the people who have already signed up are on our website or speak to Dan on 01900 825760.

– Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation
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