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Nick Herbert exposes how we have become more dependent on food imports under Labour

HERBERT NICK NWAfter some forensic research of the relevant statistics, Shadow Defra Seretary Nick Herbert has discovered and exposed how the country has become more dependent under Labour on foreign imports of food we could have produced ourselves. He has revealed how tens of thousands of hectares of land which was formerly used for growing produce has been lost and the number of animals being reared has also fallen dramatically.

Here are the facts he has ascertained:

  • The UK’s self-sufficiency in indigenous food has fallen from 82% in 1998 to 73% in 2008;
  • The UK trade gap in food, feed and drink has widened by 52% in real terms between 1998 and 2007 to £15.2 billion;
  • Over 36,000 hectares of planted land for vegetables has been lost under Labour, falling from 153,000 when they took office to 116,000 in 2008;
  • Over the same period, the area of land for producing fresh fruit has fallen from 36,000 hectares to 28,000 hectares;
  • The number of dairy cows has fallen from 2,453,000 to 1,909,000;
  • The number of beef cows has fallen from 1,911,000 to 1,670,000;
  • The number of pigs has fallen from 7,834,000 to 4,714,000;
  • The sheep and lamb flock has fallen from 43,983,000 to 33,131,000;
  • The number of poultry kept has fallen from 169,901,000 to 166,200,000;
  • The area of land for cereals has fallen from 3,358,000 to 3,274,000.

 Mr Herbert made the following conclusions about his findings:

“The Government previously claimed that it was unnecessary to increase domestic food production, and under Labour Britain has become increasingly dependent on imports of food we could grow ourselves. It should be a strategic priority of government to increase self-sufficiency in food, yet the Government are refusing to take the steps to make this happen.  They have increased the regulatory burden on British farmers; government departments continue to ignore British producers and procure foreign food, and Ministers refuse to introduce honest food labelling to benefit consumers and help support our domestic production.”

Jonathan Isaby


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