Northern Ireland peer Lord Rogan has received a commitment from Rural Affairs Minister Lord Benyon that the growing crisis facing pig farmers will be tackled on UK-wide basis.

Speaking in the House of Lords earlier today, Lord Rogan said:  “Over recent days, a succession of Government Ministers has told us how much they value Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.  As a Unionist, I warmly welcome that.”

But he added: “Almost a month ago, Victor Chestnutt, the President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, warned publicly that the Province’s pig farmers may have to start culling their animals because of labour shortages.”

Lord Rogan asked the Minister: “Can you tell us what contacts you or your officials have had in the intervening weeks with the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland and the Ulster Farmers’ Union to help address this perilous situation?”

Responding, Lord Benyon said that Victoria Prentis, a Minster of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, had held “very frequent conversations with all the devolved governments on these issues.”

He continued: “It is absolutely vital that we look at this problem not just within the constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

“This is an issue that runs entirely across the Union and we want to make sure that we’re protecting pig farmers everywhere.”