I know this seems like a terrible time to argue that anything should be more expensive. But for the sake of farmers, cows and the planet, this is one price that needs to rise
Here is just a small list of things I think should be prohibitively expensive: imported flowers, leaf blowers, portable speakers, Frank Sinatra albums and bleach. Here is a list of things I think should be free: childcare, access to woodland, water in pubs, healthcare, ketchup at chip shops and lateral flow tests. And somewhere between the two sits milk.
Michael Oakes, chair of the national dairy board of the National Farmers’ Union, told the Today programme this week that rising costs in fuel, fertilisers and animal feed have made dairy farming unsustainable for many people in the UK. Farmers are leaving the sector, getting into terrible debt and worse. As a result of these rising costs, we are likely to see an increase in the price of milk, as well as butter, cheese, yoghurt and everything else that would make up about 85% of my four-year-old son’s diet if he had his way. While this is obviously going to be a huge issue for people on low incomes – especially parents and older people with mid-century appetites – it is also perhaps time. I don’t want to walk into a bear fight covered in honey here but, like many people, I believe that farmers should be paid fairly, supermarkets shouldn’t be able to squeeze every drop of profit out of food producers and more of us should start to see milk – all dairy – as a luxury.
Nell Frizzell is the author of The Panic Years, out now through Bantam Press. Arwa Mahdawi is away