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Lib-Dems call for Tory Action on Fair Trade

February 1, 2008 12:00 PM

At last night's Wokingham Borough Council meeting, Liberal Democrats called on the Tories to take action to secure Fair Trade status for Wokingham Borough. The "Fair Trade" mark on products guarantees a better deal to producers in the developing world. Buying Fair Trade products helps some of the poorest farmers in the world.

Councillor Kay Gilder (Lib Dem councillor for South Lake ward) said at the Council meeting last night, "The Liberal Democrats have for the last three years been working towards gaining Fair Trade status for the Wokingham borough. Having Fair Trade status demonstrates the community's commitment to helping some of the poorest people in the world, and involves the Council promoting and publicising Fair Trade.

"Wokingham has a Fair Trade Group who are committed to achieving Fair Trade status for the borough, and they are a wonderful group of hard-working people. The problem they face is that Tory-controlled Wokingham Council refuses to undertake two of the actions required to achieve Fair Trade status.

"There are a couple of things the Council has to do in order for us to gain Fair Trade status: firstly, it has to offer Fair Trade tea and coffee at council meetings and, secondly, it needs to pass a motion in council committing to this and to publicising Fair Trade in the community. The Council does do its bit by publicising Fair Trade occasionally, but there is no Fair Trade tea or coffee to be had at Council meetings. The Tories simply refuse to take these simple steps."

Councillor Beth Rowland (Lib Dem Councillor for South Lake ward) said, "My research shows that offering Fair Trade tea and coffee at council meetings would cost £100 a year - is this too much to ask? I told the Wokingham Tories that the Lib Dem Councillors would be happy to stump up for it, but they still said no. They don't understand that their failure to take these two simple steps means we cannot achieve Fair Trade status for our community."

Councillor Kay Gilder added, "The Lib Dems don't intend to give up on Fair Trade."