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30 November 2004

STEVENSON CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO ‘SHOP LOCAL’

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on the Government to be more supportive of ‘home-grown’ and ‘home-produced’ food during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

The MSP was supporting an SNP amendment in Parliament which supported a public procurement policy that ensures where possible that food is sourced locally.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

“Although supermarkets dominate the market, the biggest buyer of food is the Government through its various arms and agencies. The Government should be doing more to support our primary producers.

“In that respect, I make no apology for returning to the subject of pork. Although our welfare standards for pork production are incredibly high, standards in the rest of the EU – the free market within which we operate – are not so high. What happens? Because produce is cheaper in other countries, the Government and others buy from there. The Government needs to address that matter.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Stevenson added:

“Sourcing food locally is all about maximising the benefit to local producers and processors, reducing ‘food miles’, supporting the local economy and, perhaps above all else, getting a quality product. The North-east is renowned for the quality of its meat, seafood and other produce and our farmers, fishermen and producers deserve our support.”

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