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Ministers step up pressure for action on Export Refunds

10 December, 2008

Pressure was stepped up today on Defra Minister Mr Hilary Benn MP to be pro-active with the European Commission by requesting the re-introduction of export refunds for dairy products.

With concern heightening over low milk prices the Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, and the Finance Minister, Nigel Dodds, went to London to put their case directly to Mr Benn at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Their move follows correspondence with both Minister Benn and the Prime Minister.

Minister Gildernew said:

"We all recognise that the price which dairy farmers are now receiving for their milk is not sustainable and that action is needed urgently to help them in these difficult times. Otherwise many of them may go out of business. In recognition of this serious financial situation we are calling for more imaginative and creative action, similar to that provided for the wider economy, to address the crisis in the dairy sector."

Minister Gildernew also met a delegation from Dairy UK in Belfast this morning.

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