How we can all support world’s poorest producers

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Last week I enjoyed meeting Lancaster and Morecambe District Fairtrade Group members at one of their regular meetings in St Thomas’s Church Centre in Lancaster.

We talked about many things, including how locally we can now get more Fairtrade goods than ever and the success of the campaign which I was involved with many years ago!

Trade is a powerful way to boost income and tackle poverty, yet for that to benefit producers it needs to be trade which is fair. The rhetoric too often fails to match the reality – the benefits of international trade often do not reach those at the bottom of supply chains.

Analysis of the forthcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and US suggests it could cost some of the world’s poorest countries dear. While predictions vary, some experts estimate possible losses to Cote d’Ivoire of £1.28bn and Bangladesh £2.21bn.

I am writing to ministers in government departments raising my concerns about the impact of trade policy on the poorest people in the world, but there’s some things we can all do, too.

We are lucky to have so many options about buying Fairtrade goods locally, from the big supermarkets to more specialist shops in town, including Craft Aid which is located at St Thomas’s Church. In Galgate there is also Esme, which sells eco-friendly and Fairtrade products.

So while supporting local business you can also know you are playing your part in making some of the world’s poorest people a little better off.

Last week I also hosted my first “Chats with Cat” in Galgate. Thank you to all who came along.

One of my pledges to you was to be an open, honest and accessible MP and part of delivering that is offering you the opportunity to meet me in community spaces across the constituency and give you the opportunity to come and say hello.

You don’t need to have something to talk to me about, a problem or a campaign – just come along and have a chat.

So if you get an invite pushed through your door, please do come along.