Dairy UK has launched a Dairy Manifesto ahead of the forthcoming general election, setting out key demands for the incoming government.

The manifesto, sent to MPs this week, was compiled following consultation with dairy farmers, milk buyers, processors and milkmen. It sets out four key areas on which Dairy UK claims action is required. They include tackling TB, rebalancing competition policy, stressing the importance of dairy in a balanced diet, and increasing R&D in agriculture.

Dairy was a vital part of the food and wider economy, and it was clearly in the government's interest to ensure the dairy sector was able to thrive, said Dairy UK director general Jim Begg. The single biggest thing that any new government could do was "to solve the TB problem", he added.

The UK dairy industry employs 80,000 people and dairy foods are worth more than £8bn at retail value.