16 May 1997

All sections will be involved in Food Bill talks

LABOUR has promised that it will consult widely with all sections of the food and farming industry before putting forward a Food Standards Agency Bill during the next parliament.

The Bill was one of 26 proposed by Tony Blairs administration outlined in the Queens speech on Wednesday. But there was no room for the anticipated countryside access or so-called right to roam legislation.

Tony Bailey, Country Landowners Association director of policy, was delighted there had been an 18-month stay of execution on access. He said it would enable the new Labour farm team to look more closely at the CLAs Access 2000 initiative.

Neither was David Beskine, Ramblers Association assistant director, disappointed by the lack of action. Labour had promised to consult widely before bringing in new legislation, he said, and it remained committed to the right to roam on common land, mountain and moorland.

The Queens speech tackled Labours agricultural priorities in Europe, calling for reform of the CAP to lead to lower food prices for consumers and savings for the taxpayer. Funding should be targeted to support the rural economy and enhance the environment.

The Party would use the UKs EU presidency (Jan-June 1998) as a chance to fight for an enlarged EU, and make the mechanisms of power more democratic. &#42