Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Campaigning for a fair future for our farmers

Regular readers of this column will be aware of my passion for locally produced food.  So it will not be a surprise to learn that I spent some time last week meeting with local farmers producing a wide range of products from eggs and dairy to beef and asparagus.  The NFU organises regular meetings for me with local farmers and I find these an invaluable opportunity to listen to concerns and opportunities and agreeing action for me to follow-up in Westminster.  Top of my list will be pushing for the introduction of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.   

The Code itself will ensure that supermarkets deal fairly with suppliers such as local farmers and the Adjudicator will ensure that the Code is being adhered to.  Ensuring that all parts of the supply chain from field to plate function fairly is vitally important to increasing sustainable farming.  I want to ensure that more food is produced here in the UK.  To this end I have agreed to work with the NFU to form a group in Parliament to develop a national food strategy.

It was also a pleasure to spend time with the Falmouth Young Farmers at Treverva Village Hall.  Like all young people living in my constituency they are concerned about the lack of homes they can afford to live in.  

I was concerned to learn of their difficulties and those of others who have contacted me recently about the difficulty of obtaining a mortgage if there is a “106” agreement on the property.  That is a common restriction of properties built for local people to share in ownership.  Armed with a good deal of evidence I will be tackling this problem with Vince Cable MP who is the Minister responsible for dealing with UK Banks and lending.

Having completed a wide-range of meetings with amongst others local police officers, councillors and voluntary organisations I completed the recess with a weekend with my family.  It was with great joy that I joined the congregation of St Mylor Church to celebrate Easter Sunday.  Like churches all around Cornwall, it had been splendidly decorated and the congregation were in good heart and looking forward to a series of interesting events in mark the 1600 years of the parish of St Mylor.

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