Readers' letters: Government food policy threat to UK farming

We cannot live for long without food. We survive better with good quality, locally grown food, making knowledgeable and good choices about what we eat.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 7:00 am

The UK government has recently been presented with the Henry Dimbleby report which advocates just that.

The UK government wishes to create a high-skilled, high-income country post-Brexit. British primary producers have employed foreign labour to produce high quality, local food.

Abattoirs employ foreign labour; packers also employ foreign labour; simply because they cannot attract British people to do these highly skilled, often uncomfortable jobs.

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All these foreign workers, who work hard for our benefit, must be paid the same rates as British people (they are paid at least the minimum wage) and although they can reclaim tax when they leave this country, they all pay national insurance.

The UK government insists that there is no crisis, that there will be plenty of food.

There will be, but it will be foreign, produced to lower standards than here in UK, lower safety, lower hygiene, lower animal welfare standards.

Brits will still eat, but it will be foreign food – we will be at the mercy of other countries with no food security of our own.

For some time, UK governments have been edging towards cheap, imported food.

British farmers simply cannot compete on a level playing field with other countries which do not have the same ideals of safety and welfare. British food is inevitably going to be more expensive – a niche product.

The results – fewer farmers, virtually no livestock, less carbon sequestered in our productive grass-fed livestock farms (we do not produce beef or lamb in vast stockyards like US and Australia).

British farming will no longer have a place in society and the countryside will become a different place, bereft of cattle and sheep, pigs and hens, grazing in neat fields, with only crops grown for fuel.

This may suit the ideals of the UK government, but it is not the countryside I have loved all my life.

Gill Lawrie, Arbroath.

Edinburgh needs an active travel plan

Glasgow has an impressive plan for an active travel network fit for a sustainable 21st century city. Many of us watch in dismay as Edinburgh's temporary networks are dismantled.

We have a chance to catch up with Glasgow this week when the Active Travel Investment Plan for Edinburgh is up for approval by our council.

For the sake of the social and environmental health of this city, it's a step we need to take together.

Jo Walsh, Edinburgh.

COP conference can help hospitality

It crosses my mind that politicians live on another planet, but the Scottish government appears not to be in the same universe as the rest of us.

Their latest hairbrained idea of households providing accommodation to COP26 attendees for a maximum of £20 per house proves the point.

What do these politicians believe provides the funds for the state to make environmental changes? We need the hospitality industry to thrive - hotels, B&Bs and food outlets need all the help they can get to help the economy recover, so they can contribute to the state by paying taxes and business rates.

O ur politicians should be encouraging us all to use local hotels and restaurants, not asking citizens to provide cheap accommodation.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.