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Dairy Farming

Volume 494: debated on Friday 19 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make it his policy to provide assistance to dairy farmers financially affected by the taking into receivership of Dairy Farmers of Britain. (280391)

I am deeply concerned and saddened by the situation facing farming members and other employees of Dairy Farmers of Britain, following the announcement to call in the Receivers (PricewaterhouseCoopers) on 3 June.

Publicly-funded schemes such as those available through Business Link are available to assist SMEs (small and medium enterprises) that find themselves in difficulties. Farmers who are in need of business advice should contact Business Link in their region. HMRC's Business Payment Support Service is also available for businesses which are finding it difficult to meet their tax commitments for the sorts of reasons faced by the farmers of Dairy Farmers of Britain.

Ministers have been in discussions with senior industry leaders and officials remain in close contact with the Receivers to ensure that those who might need to access these schemes know how to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to assist farmers affected by Dairy Farmers of Britain being taken into receivership. (281387)

Publicly-funded schemes are available: through Business Link to assist SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises); HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service may also enable businesses in difficulties to defer their tax commitments; and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme.

DEFRA hosted a meeting on 17 June with the Receivers (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Dairy Farmers of Britain Members Council and many other parties to continue co-ordinated efforts and work towards our common goal of minimising the impacts on all those affected.