Prior to being elected as an MP I was deputy chair of Fairtrade Kirklees. Given that I now have to spend so much of the week in Westminster, I have less time to spend with the group, but I joined the Fairtrade All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) shortly after being elected and am fighting for fairer trade in Westminster as well as here in my constituency.
Shortly before Christmas I was delighted to attend the Fairtrade and Ethical Christmas Market at Huddersfield Mission. It was incredible to see all the great work that local businesses do to contribute to fairer trade across the world. No contribution is too small, and here in the Colne and Holme Valleys we are really punching above our weight in making a difference worldwide.
I have always believed that we have a responsibility as a developed country to treat our neighbours fairly. We live in an increasingly globalised world, and just as we need to support the most vulnerable in our own country, it is in all our interests to ensure that the poorest countries in the world develop in a sustainable and fair way. The UK Government has a responsibility to ensure that we improve conditions abroad, and as consumers, we should seek to contribute to that wherever we can.
This is, however, an uncertain time. Nearly two years on from the EU referendum it is still unclear how our trade agreements with other countries will be affected. While this has an obvious impact across the board, it is particularly crucial in the area of Fairtrade. As we seek to secure economically viable trade deals across the world, we must see Fairtrade as a non-negotiable and crucial part of those deals - not just an ‘added extra’. We know the huge impact that Fairtrade can have on some of the world’s poorest communities, but also here at home. As well as supporting local firms and individuals, I will use my voice as your Member of Parliament to push the Fairtrade agenda front and centre as talks about our final Brexit deals progress.
I am looking forward to attending the fairandfunky schools conference in March, and I am sure that it will be inspiring to see what is going on in our area to promote this vital work.
As always, if anyone would like to get in touch with me about any local or national issues, please use the contact details below."
Thelma Walker MP
Slaithwaite Civic Hall
15a New Street