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Great care needed to guarantee Australia trade deal is fair,says MP

The cultivated land of the United Kingdom is the physical manifestation of our stewardship over the other Eden we are fortunate to call home.

Nowhere is that more true than here in Lincolnshire – the food basket of Britain, where a third of all the fresh produce that fills shops’ shelves and people’s pantries is grown.

So central and local Government should support British farmers and growers for all our sakes.

MP Sir John Hayes (47732977)
MP Sir John Hayes (47732977)

Throughout my years as a Minister, I championed this cause in every Government department in which I served and have done so since as a backbencher.

It’s common sense that the public sector should purposefully buy British produce; for our hospitals, our schools, our armed services and in every other sphere where buying British makes sense.

My efforts were met with excuses at every turn; visionless bureaucracy in the form of ‘state aid rules’, imposed on us from the nation-state despising EU, were used to block all such steps. As a result we saw then, and still see now, millions of imported products purchased with taxpayers’ money each year and distributed by public bodies.

Brexit is a chance for change. A resounding vote has empowered Westminster with renewed legislative power and purpose.

Those stifling state aid rules need no longer arbitrarily stay the hand of government from reaching out to our farmers, growers and manufacturers.

British institutions, funded by British taxes, should now be obliged as public procurers to buy British.

We must take care to ensure Brexit Britain does not incorporate the worst elements of the globalist mantra of unfettered free trade and disregard the interests of home-grown manufacturing by throwing open the doors of our markets to a tidal wave of foreign goods.

Which is why great care must be taken to guarantee that the new Australia trade deal is fair; put straightforwardly – the introduction of thousands of tonnes of Australian beef could very easily completely imbalance our internal market to the detriment of farmers across the UK.

Globalisation may serve the interests of the monolithic multinational corporates, but it is not so good for most British firms and British workers.

The dogma of free trade espoused by careless liberals has already done significant damage to many of our traditional industries.

Dairy-farming has for years been at the mercy of profit hungry, greedy supermarket conglomerates and soulless foreign farming corporations.

What a nonsense it is that a Kingdom with acres of fine pasture imports milk! A policy of public procurement which buys British is the least we can do to decisively support farmers, growers and all who work in the food industry, including thousands of my own constituents.

Not only does this make instinctive sense to the
patriotic public, but focussing on local provisions can go a long way to ensuring our food security, the traceability of goods and appropriate standards.

The food miles involved in flying goods into the UK from across the world means burning fuel non-stop to bring produce here which we can make ourselves.

This environmentally ruinous inefficiency is completely unnecessary, and often brings products to our shores which do not match up to the high welfare and quality standards on which Britain prides itself – it is not free trade, but fair trade that consumers need and producers deserve.

Now is time to see the good that Government can do in a revitalised, newly-independent nation state, free to pursue its own interests in the name of its own people. It’s right to back Britain by buying British and Government procurement must lead the way.

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