Conservative politicians have welcomed the decision by Labour run Monmouthshire County Council to re-tender for its dairy contract  after a public outcry over its decision to award the contract to a supplier based over 100 miles away, sourcing milk from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire,  rather than locally based Raglan Dairy.

MP David TC Davies and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Richard John had criticised the Labour council’s decision and had campaigned for the Council to reverse its decision so Monmouthshire schools, care homes and leisure centres could once again use milk from local farms.

Following the mounting pressure, the council has now U-turned and announced it will re-tender the contract within the next six months.

Mr Davies welcomed the decision, saying:“It was absolute madness for the Labour council to award the contract not just to business based 100 miles away, but one that has a lesser food hygiene rating.

“Since the start of this scandal, I have called on Monmouthshire County Council to think again and do more to stand up for local farmers and businesses. Sadly, it seems Labour councillors thought their decision would go unnoticed but I can assure them that that was certainly not the case.

There are still so many unanswered questions about why this contract was awarded in the first place,

Cllr Richard John

“We have so many fantastic local businesses in Monmouthshire – such as Raglan Milk – and it is vital that one of these is now picked.”

He added:“The Conservatives will always stand up for the interests of Monmouthshire.”

And Cllr John said: “Residents across Monmouthshire were really disappointed with the council’s decision, which was contrary to their supposed policies on supporting local businesses, local food procurement and reducing carbon emissions.

“Of course, I’m pleased that Labour councillors have responded to the public’s concern, but there are still so many unanswered questions about why this contract was awarded in the first place, including to a company whose milk distribution centre had been condemned by food hygiene inspectors.

“The Conservative team on the council will continue to ask these questions and put pressure on the council to deliver on this promise of re-tendering the dairy contract and we hope a fairer and more robust process will allow local suppliers the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.”