Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall, Northallerton, today expressed disappointment at the ruling Conservatives’ decision not to make North Yorkshire County Council a “Fairtrade County.”
The Fairtrade Foundation aims to improve the lives of food producers in the developing world by ensuring that they are paid a fair price for what they produce. It has the support of many councils, charities and religious organisations.
Following a Lib Dem motion, the Council’s Environment & Heritage Committee set up a Research Group to look into Fairtrade. It reported back by recommending that the Council aim to gain Fairtrade status for the county.
However, the recommendations then went to the Council’s Management Board, which is made up of senior officers. It advised the Council’s Conservative dominated Executive that it should expand availability of Fairtrade products in its general business, but not to seek Fairtrade status for the county.
Richmond Lib Dem Councillor Stuart Parsons said: “I am pleased that the Council has decided to expand use of Fairtrade products at meetings and in the County Hall canteen. Any use of their products will help bring about a fairer and more decent world economy.
“But it is a great pity that the Conservatives have not opted to go for Fairtrade County status. We could have proudly declared our Fairtrade status to visitors on road signs and council vehicles.
“Our neighbours in Cumbria have already become a Fairtrade County, and Lancashire is working towards it. North Yorkshire is in danger of being left behind, and has missed a golden opportunity to support the local economy.”