Helen Morgan leads Parliamentary debate over future of agri sector

2 May 2024
Helen at a North Shropshire stud farm

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has been busy in Parliament raising the plight of local businesses suffering due to new rules around imports and exports for the agricultural sector.

Helen called for and led a debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday highlighting concerns from the sport horse industry about new import and export controls on the sector, including controls on live animals and animal products – which many North Shropshire businesses rely on.

This comes off the back of several meetings between Helen and local businesses and a recent meeting in Parliament with a Government minister.

In a separate debate surrounding the introduction of new checks on goods entering the UK, Helen made sure that the concerns of a major local company involved in trading potatoes were mentioned. Several large local firms have to receive imports from and export to producers with strict deadlines which could be at further risk following the extra logistical steps that have been implemented by the Government.

The MP sought to get reassurance from the DEFRA minister that the process will be streamlined enough to allow the business to continue moving its goods around in a timely matter.

Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, told other MPs, “These controls will introduce additional logistical steps, which are problematic for time-critical products.

“I recently met people from Maincrop Potatoes Ltd in my constituency. It trades potatoes to producers, so it has a deadline to hit on those production lines, and it will be importing more this year because of the disastrous potato harvest.

In the debate on sport horses which Helen Morgan led, she added, “It is important to note that getting to this point has been chaotic and that the change of process was only made with weeks to go.

“We are talking about an £8 billion UK industry – it is not a niche issue and it is well worth ensuring that the industry can operate effectively.

“There is a threat to the efficient operation of a valuable and thriving UK industry that we are all proud of. I have a particular interest in it, because eventing and show-jumping horses are important and thriving in North Shropshire. DEFRA is moving in the right direction on this, but process so far has been more chaotic than we would like – we want the Department for Business and Trade to be involved as well.”

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