Farmers urge Hastings and Rye MP to protect British food standards

Farmers in Hastings and Rye are urging MP Sally-Ann Hart to back a move which they say will protect British food standards in the event of a post-Brexit deal with the US.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:27 pm
MP Sally-Ann Hart SUS-200901-105451001

Hastings and Rye Labour Party said many farmers in the area fear the import of cheaper, poorly produced meat will damage British farming and lead to lower food quality.

Last Tuesday (October 13) the Government rejected an amendment to the Agriculture Bill in the Commons, put forward by Lord Grantchester, which required imported food to meet UK legal standards from January 1 next year.

Mrs Hart backed the Government by voting against the amendment.

On Tuesday night (October 20) the House of Lords voted to back Lord Grantchester’s amendment and an amendment by Lord Curry, which calls for the strengthening of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission.

Both amendments will now return back to MPs in the Commons.

Frank Langrish, who farms cattle and sheep in Rye, said he fears Conservative MPs will not shift their position, thinking the Government is ‘so desperate to get a post-Brexit US trade deal’.

He said his farms have done well since lockdown, with many consumers returning to buying locally and continuing to do so.

He said: “Our shipments have doubled. But for the ordinary farmer, who is completely reliant on selling into large abattoirs, the only way they can compete is on price. And they will be badly hit by demand from the big ready meals manufacturers for cheaper meat.”

Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart said: “I support the Agriculture Bill and what it does for our local farmers. Farming is important to our local economy and environment, and nationally it generates £112 billion every year. 

“The Bill champions British farmers and British food by improving transparency and fairness in the supply chain, and investing in new technology and research to ensure our food producers remain competitive and innovative.

“This Bill sets out the future of agricultural policy for England. It does not cover international trade.

“The Government committed in its 2019 manifesto to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards. We will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any future trade deals live up to the values of farmers and consumers across the UK.” 

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