Blog Archives

Will vested interests give way south of the border?

George Monbiot 3George Monbiot reports that the Scottish government is to consider breaking up large land holdings when they impede the prospects of local people. It will provide further help to communities to buy the land that surrounds them.

The Spanish system is described as being totally transparent, but Monbiot records that – in England – it took Land magazine several weeks of fighting official obstruction and cost almost £1,000 to find out who owned the land around its office. The old land registers had been closed and removed from public view.

Monbiot wryly comments that it is a different matter when landowners are applying for subsidies from the rural payments agency, which possesses a full, though unobtainable, register of their agricultural holdings.

We are asked to compare the Scottish government’s promise of “a fairer, wider and more equitable distribution of land” with the Westminster government’s vision of “greater competitiveness” – which leads to an increase in the size of land holdings.

Scotland is also to open up the question of property taxes, which might lead to the fair and comprehensive land value taxation system.

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Flood-prone green field site now:

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Monbiot leads us to ask:

  • Will the Scottish government address the ‘speculative chaos’ that mangles the countryside (above) while failing to build the houses people need?
  • Will it challenge a system in which terrible homes (above) are built at great expense?
  • Will it take land into public ownership to ensure that new developments are built by and for those who will live there rather than for the benefit of volume housebuilders?

And ends, “For centuries, Britain has been a welfare state for patrimonial capital. It’s time we broke it open, and broke the culture of deference that keeps us in our place. Let’s bring the Highland spring south, and start discussing some dangerous subjects”.

The fully referenced article can be found at monbiot.com

Scottish independence campaign: FFA to ask all politicians if they will legislate on farm gate prices

Press release from William Taylor, Farmers For Action UK NI co-ordinator:

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Rural dwellers in Scotland have a golden opportunity to settle the debate on independence: they should immediately put the case to the Scottish National Party and to the Westminster government for safety-net legislation on farm gate prices and see what the politicians are made of, then vote accordingly.

A project campaigning for legislation on farm gate prices for staples

12 months ago in Northern Ireland, FFA put the case for legislation on farmgate prices for all the staples that would provide a safety net giving farmers a minimum of the true cost of production plus a margin inflation linked return minimum. If the market prices go higher NI farmers would receive such prices, but when prices fall they could only legally come down to the safety-net price of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked.

In Northern Ireland four farm organisations, including Northern Ireland Livestock Auctioneer Associations, are now working equally with Farmers For Action on the project with the Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister and the Agriculture Committee at Stormont.   The icing on the cake for the Northern Ireland politicians who see the legislation through is the creation of 25,000 jobs immediately, which equates to a minimum of one professional job for every farm in Northern Ireland, only to be followed by thousands more good quality permanent jobs throughout agriculture and its suppliers. In Scotland this would equate initially to 53,000 jobs.

 The facts:

  1. 25% of UK family farmers are living below the poverty line (welfare overrides the legislation being anti competitive);
  2. the price of beef is in free fall along with virtually every other commodity needing a huge lift to even reach the true cost of production, eg milk 42p/l, beef £5.15 per kg, lamb £5.15 per kg, potatoes £175 per tonne;
  3. grain and oil seeds are one of the few exceptions, in that world market shortages due to bio fuel use is keeping the price currently just about cost of production but usually over and above.

With family farmers standing no chance of getting a fair price against the likes of Tesco or corporate processors, it’s time for the politicians who put Scotland before themselves to stand forward and do what Roosevelt did in the US 30s depression; he couldn’t get the US out of recession until he put money in farmers’ pockets. Farmers with money in their pockets purchase from approximately 123 other businesses and create employment, they cannot currently reinvest and continue producing food whilst losing money.

So come on Scotland! Put the case to the politicians, let’s end 21st century rural poverty together by making the politicians pull their weight and earn their keep. Now is your golden opportunity to turn the debate back to the politicians and ask if they are prepared to legislate on farm gate prices so that rural dwellers are properly rewarded for their work as the Lisbon Treaty states, or if they will turn their backs on 53,000 Scottish jobs by putting corporate greed first, yet again!

Farmers For Action

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, Co L’derry, N Ireland, BT51 4NU

Tel/Fax 028 703 43419 Email taylor.w@btconnect.com

 

A farmer’s question: will the Westminster government introduce food labelling legislation against the wishes of their ‘friends’ in the retail trade?

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Farmers For Action UK (Northern Ireland) have written to Northern Ireland’s First Minister and Deputy First Minister asking them to join forces with the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments and call on the Westminster government to introduce tough new food processing and labelling laws immediately, as advised by the Food Standards Agency.

William Taylor, FFA UK NI co-ordinator, stated: “it is obvious from a statement made by Owen Paterson, Minister of the Environment earlier this week after he met with retailers that the Westminster government has no intention of introducing legislation that would hurt their ‘friends’ in the retail trade.

“First the banks cheated on our trust and the last Westminster government decided without our permission that our money must bail them out and still they cheat – but worst of all the current government shows no sign of adding tough new laws to stop rogue large supermarkets, large food wholesalers and large food processors feeding us and our children and hospital patients horsemeat or horse offal.  To add insult to injury the Chairman and Chief Executive of Iceland has the cheek to virtually deny that horsemeat or offal was ever present in some of the leading supermarkets including his own.”

Rogue corporate greed

Mr Taylor went on, “Enough is enough of rogue corporate greed demanding food to be supplied below the cost of production.  Meanwhile, consumers our customers including children and patients unknowingly get fed horsemeat or offal and perhaps more. 

“UK farmers supply top quality fully traceable red meat yet are forced to sell it and most other commodities at prices needing at least a 35% increase to even reach the cost of production to these same greedy corporates, who then introduced dubious meat products behind closed doors to artificially keep down farm gate red meat prices whilst underpinning their profits. 

“Let this be a warning to government: food has a cost and family farmers across the UK are financially on their knees due to rogue corporate behaviour, currently many farmers can not afford to feed the people any more!

“Corporate food profit taking and cheating has gone too far, consumers and farmers are now on the war path.  This time we the voters want immediate government action, our lives and our children’s lives and our livelihoods depends on it – no action – no votes!”

William Taylor: 56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, Co L’derry, N Ireland, BT51 4NU
Tel/Fax  028 703 43419  Email  taylor.w@btconnect.com