We are proudly the rural capital of food. As a country, we need to celebrate our local food producers, recognise their environmental stewardship and reduce the burdens they face.
I will push to get the Agriculture Bill moving and make sure that food is at its heart and I'll lobby Ministers to secure a meaningful strategy to replace EU subsidies and ensure food is always at the centre of any trade deals. In my first year as your MP I will ensure I listen to farmers by meeting with them each month to understand their views and hopes for Brexit and get those heard by Government.
I also want to better equip our communities and young people with the skills our rural economies need. As such I'll push for investment in agri-tech, in closer relationships between rural businesses and schools and for a greater focus on agricultural and technical skills and education.
Let’s buy British, and shout about our food producers and local food.
UPDATE April 2021: Consultation on Geographical Indicators Launched
As Founder and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Foods, I am launching a consultation on the new UK Geographical Indicator scheme.
Nearly 100 food and drink products in the UK are registered as Geographical Indications, which demarcate products that are culturally and historically significant to areas and communities in every corner of our country.
In Rutland and Melton we should be particularly proud, as we have three GI products: Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Stilton Cheese, and Rutland Bitter.
As we leave the EU, we have a brilliant chance to include more products and promote even more our great British foods and drinks. That is why today I am launching this consultation, so that consumers, producers and retailers can have their say on how the UK GI scheme can be improved.
You can complete the consultation at gpfoods.inparliament.uk, and I very much look forward to reading responses from Rutland and Melton food and drink producers, retailers and consumers, and everyone across the UK.
NEWS February 2021: Elected Vice-Chair of the APPG for Dairy Farming
NEWS January 2021: Co-Found APPG on Farming
UPDATE October 2020: Government Launches New GI Scheme
Having lobbied the Government on this issue since December, I’m delighted that the Government has announced that new rules and logos to protect British food and drink, guaranteeing the authenticity of regional and traditional foods for shoppers and protecting British producers from imitation, will be introduced at the end of the Transition Period.
All existing UK products registered under the EU’s GI schemes by the end of the transition period will rightly remain protected under the UK’s new GI schemes.
UPDATE September 2020: GIs Protected in New Japan Trade Deal
I was proud to establish the All Party Parliamentary Group for Geographically Protected Foods and I’m delighted with its role in shaping these protections, ensuring local foods like Stilton and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, are at the heart of trade negotiations as we saw with the new UK-Japan deal which will protect 70 GIs
I welcome the ambitious protections for geographically protected foods contained in the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The UK Government was able to go much further than the EU-Japan Agreement, by extending the number of GIs recognised from just seven to potentially over 70. This includes some of the best produce in the world, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Stilton cheese, Rutland Bitter, Malt whiskey, English sparkling wine, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb.
This deal is a brilliant first step in recognising the contributions of our amazing food producers and opening markets for our phenomenal food and drink products. GIs boost local economies and fly the flag for our nation’s culinary heritage abroad. I am very glad that their importance has been recognised by both the UK and Japan in these intense negotiations.
Indeed, the Trade Secretary even gifted the Japanese Foreign Minister some Stilton to mark this historic deal!
This deal will boost British trade by £15 billion and help our food producers access new markets. This really does represent a new chapter for our country.
NEWS May 2020: Dairy Hardship Fund Secured
Having lobbied the Government every day since the lockdown began to highlight the immense challenges facing dairy farmers locally and across the country, I am delighted to have secured the Dairy Hardship Fund.
This fund will provide support for the most in need farmers, and eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to COVID-19 disruptions will be eligible to access this funding of up to £10,000 each for those qualifying months, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.
NEWS February 2020: Founded All Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Foods
I’m proud to have launched the All Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Foods to promote and protect the integrity of our wonderful local foods as we leave the EU.
As we transition out of the European Union, it is ever more important to have a simple, robust and inclusive mechanism to protect culturally and geographically significant food from all our communities.
UPDATE February 2020: Agriculture Bill Committee
I was delighted to be selected to sit on the Agriculture Bill Committee and scrutinise the legislation on behalf of Rutland and Melton’s farmers and food producers.
I am grateful to the many local farmers who responded to my call for their feedback, which I am proud to have relayed in the Committee.
UPDATE January 2020: Direct Payments to Farmers Bill
I spoke in the second reading of the Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill to highlight that farmers need certainty. This is important not only to feed our nation and protect our environment, but for our national security.
UPDATE January 2020: TB Testing Debate
In a debate on compensation for Bovine TB I raised the importance of using the right tests for TB, especially when it comes to larger bovids such as the bison in Nether Broughton in my constituency.