Chancellor Osborne urged to protect agriculture export markets

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
SDLP South Down MP and member of the Westminster EFRA committee Margaret Ritchie has called on British Chancellor George Osborne to commit to protecting agriculture export markets, which she says are critical to the viability of the local industry ahead of the Autumn Statement. Margaret RitchieSpeaking to Newry Times, she said, “Export markets are absolutely critical for the viability of local farming and agri-food businesses. Over the last period, we’ve seen cuts to the DEFRA trade section and voluntary redundancies which have damaged our ability to maximise market exposure for Northern Ireland producers. “This is a reserved matter and it’s therefore vital that we see better partnership working between the Agriculture Minister in the Executive and the DEFRA Minister at Westminster. But more critically, we need the Chancellor to protect the DEFRA trade section from the impact of further cuts to come in the Autumn statement. Ritchie added, “Our local farmers and fishermen need a strong voice at Westminster, championing their cause. I will continue to do that in the time ahead.”
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