Many Horsham residents are deeply committed to Fair Trade, as the turnout to the Horsham Fairtrade Christmas market attests, and the Fair Trade rationale is simple: the consumer buys a good value product and in the knowledge that the developing world producer secures a fair and sustainable price.
How we trade with the world post Brexit is coming into closer focus. In the Commons last month I asked the Minister for Trade how we will approach trade deals with developing nations. I am pleased that the Government’s is very focussed on developing nations maintaining their preferential access to UK markets as we leave the EU. Penny Mordaunt, the new International Development Secretary, has made boosting trade and investment with developing countries her number pledge for the future of UK aid. This trading priority, along with targeted use of UK aid, is the single most effective way of us helping nations climb sustainably out of poverty. It is in all our interests that countries at risk from natural disasters, conflict and the impact of climate change are helped to build up their economies and resilience.
When I visit schools I sense the strong desire among young people for our country to do it’s utmost to help others and I believe we should be very proud of what UK support is achieving. However this is not just a one-way trade: us playing our full role in helping development and building economies will long-term also help the UK economy and help ensure that the world continues to be a friendlier place to our values. The last few decades have seen a huge rise in the number of democracies and states in which human rights and the rule of law are respected. However this is now under pressure and cannot be taken for granted.
On a separate note – on Sunday it was great to see (and even better to hear!) the preview to this summer’s Shipley Arts Festival. Horsham is enjoys a huge array of artistic endeavour – much of which will be highlighted in 2019’s Year of Culture. The Arts Festival is again putting on an excellent programme – details as ever will be available on-line.
Photo caption: Meeting with the “Rusty Brains” last week in the Baptist Church in Brighton Road. The Group devises a wide range of meetings and activities and welcomes those living with dementia.