North Herefordshire’s Green Party parliamentary challenger Dr Ellie Chowns last week debated post-Brexit agriculture policy in front of an audience of more than 60 agriculture students and staff at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, outlining the important choices ahead if we are to get the best future for our food and farming sector.
Said Dr Chowns: “Currently more than half the income of UK farmers comes from subsidies, and far too much of that money is wasted on paying large landowners to do nothing. Brexit gives us the opportunity to reorient farming support so that it incentivises positive action like environmental protection and job creation”.
In the early part of the Summer, we carried out a survey, asking a cross section of the residents about traffic calming ideas in the High Street and Broad Street. They voted in favour of a 20 m.p.h. speed limit and to restrict H.G.V.s in this area.
We documented the results and passed them onto our two County Councillors, Alan Seldon ( It’s Our County ) and Nigel Shaw ( Tory ) the local police neighbourhood team, our M.P. Bill Wiggin, and in October, we presented our findings to Bromyard Town Council, asking them to discuss the issue at the next full Council Meeting, which they failed to do.
The Police Neighbourhood Team did not respond at all. The Councillors said that they would pass our results on to relevant people from Herefordshire County Council. If they have, nobody has contacted us. Bill Wiggin said he would pass the results on to The Leader of the Council and would let us have his reaction. We’ve not heard from him since.
This is very frustrating because, though we may have carried out the survey, the results are the comments of the very people, who our MP, Town and County Councillors and the Police Team are supposed to represent.
Hopefully, the exercise has raised our profile a little. Bromyard is an extremely Conservative Town and raising any great interest here will be a hard nut to crack. We’ll soldier on anyway.
It’s good to read in Bill Wiggin’s ‘Talking Point’ last week that he wants to stop our money being wasted on agency staff in the NHS. I agree with him that ‘it is important that the NHS is able to manage its staffing budget and is not privatised by agencies who pay far higher rates’. However, it is not agencies who are privatising the NHS, it is his own party! Many Herefordians are disappointed to see the support Bill, and Jesse Norman, have given over the years to the Government’s starving of our precious health service, and encouragement of wasteful internal markets.
Do we want Herefordshire to go the way of Bath and North East Somerset, where Virgin Care are now running NHS and social care services? Where do we want our taxes to end up – in a nurse’s pocket or in Richard Branson’s tax haven? The NHS is in serious danger, and to protect it as a public service, not a profit opportunity for big business, we have to challenge this Conservative obsession with breaking up and selling off our assets and services. It’s sad to see Bill and Jesse sharing this ideology, and I would like to remind them that Herefordshire is not for sale, the UK is not a business, and we are citizens not consumers. Some things, like the NHS, are priceless.