A GOVERNMENT MINISTER has praised the National Farmers Union for its contribution in shaping gangmaster legislation.

Junior DEFRA minister Alun Michael paid tribute to the work of the NFU and Transport & General Workers Union at the Labour party conference on Monday (Sept 27).

“To get a private member‘s bill through both Houses as happened to the Gangmasters Bill – it just doesn‘t happen,” said Mr Michael.

“But it did, and not least thanks to the support and effort of the NFU and the T&G,” he said.

Mr Michael was speaking at a Countryside Agency fringe event which addressed the relationship between people in urban and rural areas in the UK.

The minister said that there was no real divide between rural and urban people and that their cultural differences had in many ways been exaggerated.

The NFU‘s head of parliamentary affairs, Barney Holbeche agreed and said that there was a much stronger relationship between town and country than was commonly thought.

The NFU also received praise at a Ramblers Association fringe event for its response to the ongoing opening up of vast countryside areas to the public.