Katy Clark MP is supporting Saltcoats-based milkman Stewart Currie over concerns that the dominant position of two major companies could be having a negative impact on the price of milk and door-step deliveries.
a meeting with Mr Currie, the local MP has written to the Competition
and Markets Authority (CMA) asking them to investigate possible
price-fixing in the dairy industry.
Ms Clark explained, “I have
written to the CMA to raise concerns over the behaviour of milk
companies and their dominance in the marketplace. Mr Currie is a local
milkman and has given me examples of a supermarket chain selling milk
for 30p less than he is forced to pay when buying from the same dairy
company that supplies the supermarket.
“This undercutting has
led to a steep decline in the home-delivery of milk. Mr Currie has
informed me that Graham’s Dairies have purchased Quothquan Dairies,
which was the third largest dairy in Scotland. As such, Mr Currie is
now only able to purchase from either Wiseman Dairies or Graham’s
In 2008 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) dropped an
investigation into six Scottish dairies accused of price fixing,
including Graham’s, Quothquan and Wiseman. The OFT had alleged
collusion on pricing, price rises and arrangements not to compete. The
watchdog said there was insufficient evidence against the firms, despite
two-years earlier stating it had provisionally found they had engaged
in price-fixing or market sharing.
Of the current situation, Katy
Clark said, “The price rises continue to place a burden on small and
medium businesses, and are threatening the already struggling work of
milkmen and women. These workers provide a vital service for the
elderly or those who are house-bound, as well as being a visible
presence within our communities.”
The Labour MP for North
Ayrshire & Arran has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to
“investigate thoroughly” the concerns raised with her by Stewart Currie.