Neil Parish MP shows support for British Farming

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, joined 60 other MPs and Peers, the Secretary of State for DEFRA, Caroline Spellman, DEFRA Ministers Richard Benyon and Lord Taylor along with Shadow Labour, Lib Dem and Plaid Cymru DEFRA team members, in the House of Commons on Monday to mark the launch of the NFU’s national “Farming Delivers for Britain” campaign and heard one clear message: Make it British, Make it Local, and Make it happen. And in the week when Defra farming minister Jim Paice flew to China to hold talks to help open-up export markets for British farmers and growers this is one sector that is clearly bucking the current economic trend. The NFU’s new report has also revealed that not only is farming leading the way, increasing its GVA by a quarter, it also provides the foundation stone for Britain’s food and drink industry. This sector contributed some £85 billion to the UK economy last year, while helping to keep some 3.5 million people in work. Commenting after the event Neil Parish, who is a former farmer and Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said: “I welcome the NFU’s report which has shown the huge contribution farming makes to our economy and the role they can play in conservation and protecting the British Countryside. It is vital that the UK becomes more self-sufficient by producing more of its own food and I would encourage everyone, including the public sector, to shop local. Buying British produce is a sure-fire way of helping the rural economy and ensuring that our food is of the highest quality and produced with exemplary animal welfare standards”. The NFU will be campaigning under six key themes: food, the economy, the environment, animal welfare, careers and cleaner energy. During the event NFU President Peter Kendall said: “We don’t just produce food we also do it with less impact on the environment than was the case in the past; most indicators demonstrate that. We also produce a large and growing variety of different sources of cleaner renewable energy and we deliver some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. We also provide jobs and exciting careers. Employment in farming actually went up by 10,000 last year. “As everyone here will know all too well, and our research confirms, the current economic climate is making people very nervous about the future. The country’s future and their own. “The message of this campaign is that farming is doing its bit to help. Farming delivers for Britain. Farming delivers for you. In tough economic times, this is a campaign which comes without a begging bowl. It’s a campaign about what we are giving. Not what we are asking for. “Of course, it goes without saying, that we want a government that recognises the importance of our sector. That goes for all of us in the food chain. We want a government that is committed to our success and wants to see us grow.”Photo: Neil Parish MP with NFU President Peter Kendall (right) and Deputy President Meurig Raymond