The Guardian view on the dairy crisis: too important to be left to the market

Farmers don’t get paid enough but some shoppers can’t afford to buy. How did the market get so out of kilter?

A dairy farm worker prepares milk for calves. ‘Being at the whim of the world’s commodity markets means a farmer in Cheshire is vulnerable to a fall in demand from China, and Russia’s ban on EU food imports in retaliation for Brussels-imposed sanctions.’ Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
A dairy farm worker prepares milk for calves. ‘Being at the whim of the world’s commodity markets means a farmer in Cheshire is vulnerable to a fall in demand from China, and Russia’s ban on EU food imports in retaliation for Brussels-imposed sanctions.’ Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

It is never all about money. It is, for example, becoming a familiar observation to say that housing, at least in London and a handful of other global capitals, has become not somewhere to live but an investment opportunity, to be bought and sold depending on the likely return. By bearing down on the use of offshore companies as vehicles for house ownership, as the chancellor George Osborne did in the summer budget last month, the government may hope to make a small dent in the surge in house prices which is contributing to the unaffordability of homes across south-east England. It is not just housing that is both a necessity of life and a commodity. So are many foodstuffs – most obviously, this week, milk. Here the government is silent. Read more.

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