Fair Trade status for Bury

A SUFFOLK borough looks set to become a step closer to winning a major ethical accolade as the first in Britain to be awarded “fair trade” status.If St Edmundsbury clinches the title, goods carrying the impressive label will be used in workplaces and by community organisations, while councillors will enjoy tea and coffee which offer farmers a good return during their meetings.

A SUFFOLK borough looks set to become a step closer to winning a major ethical accolade as the first in Britain to be awarded “fair trade” status.

If St Edmundsbury clinches the title, goods carrying the impressive label will be used in workplaces and by community organisations, while councillors will enjoy tea and coffee which offer farmers a good return during their meetings.

Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council's cabinet will discuss the status on Wednesday, and backers of the scheme are hoping they will recommend endorsement to their colleagues later in the month.

A steering group, consisting of representatives from schools, churches and businesses will then be formed to ensure the borough continues it commitment towards providing fair trade options within the town.


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“Fair trade products are beginning to become part of the life of the nation,” said Rev Jonathan Ford, vicar at Christ Church on the Moreton Hall estate and chairman of the campaign.

“We are concerned that third world farmers cannot get a fair price for their crops. If they did, a lot of their problems would take a giant step to being solved. They could start buying proper health care and educational products for their children, and if their economies improve, they can start buying the things we want to sell them, so everybody wins.

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“The other important thing about fair trade is that its crops are produced in an environmentally-friendly way.

“The goods do not cost any more – perhaps just a few pence – and farmers can get around 70p more from each jar of coffee if it is fair trade.

“We will be the first fair trade town in the eastern counties, which is flagging us up on the forefront of things. I would be jubilant if this went ahead.”

Garstang, in Lancashire, became the first fair trade town in Britain in 1999. Since then, others have followed suit but it is believed that if St Edmundsbury adopts fair trade status it would be the first borough in the country to do so.

Bury MP David Ruffley has supported the campaign, saying: “This would be an enormous feather in our cap. For decades, poorer countries have been in a stranglehold as the west dictates prices and sets tariffs.

“It is our moral duty to alleviate the poverty that the west has created and propagated.”

The cabinet will discuss fair trade status on Wednesday, with the issue raised at a full council meeting on April 13.

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