Meeting with Transport and Islands Minister Derek MacKay MSP and Bute & Gigha dairy farmers today (Monday 18th May) in Rothesay. We made some progress, but it is now essential that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment finds the resources to support reduction in transport costs for Bute & Gigha, for those supplying to First Milk who have reduced the price they pay yet again:
This is the NFUS Press Release after the meeting:
Scottish Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay MSP met with dairy farmers on Bute this afternoon to discuss subsidised ferry transport for milk tankers as a way of assisting beleaguered milk farmers on Bute and Gigha.
Speaking from Rothesay, NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew McCornick said:
“Dairy farmers welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay MSP, in order to discuss the increasingly difficult situation for dairy producers in Bute and Gigha and the significant difference that subsidised ferry transport for milk tankers might make to the future of the dairy industry on these islands.
“We welcome Mr Mackay’s support in principle for putting temporary measures in place to provide half of the cost of ferry fares for First Milk tankers until the planned review period in September.
“However, it is clear that the stumbling block will be finding the required funding in order to bridge this gap, believed to be in the region of £35,000. NFUS will therefore continue discussions with Mr Mackay and the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead in the hope of securing this vital funding to part-remedy the increasingly desperate situation for dairy producers in Bute and Gigha.
“There will be ongoing frustration amongst milk producers on these islands that this matter remains unresolved and our dialogue with Ministers will start again tomorrow with renewed vigour.”