Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, played an active role in the main chamber of the House of Commons during the final day of business before summer recess. During an Oral questions session to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Evans took the opportunity to promote local Lancastrian produce and delve for answers on the future of perishable exports after Brexit.
Speaking from the Chamber, Mr Evans said: “Food security can be enhanced in this country by supporting the exports of Great British foods throughout the world. It is no surprise that I love British food and drink, particularly Lancashire cheese and British beer, both of which are produced in my constituency of the Ribble Valley.”
The Ribble Valley has a proud pedigree of producing fine food and drink, and is home to widely accredited growers and manufacturers including Bowland Brewery, Cowman’s Sausages and Gazegill Organic Farm. Furthermore, five of the top 50 gastropubs in the UK are situated in the Ribble Valley.
Seeking a positive outlook on British food exports after Brexit, Mr Evans questioned: “What can he (Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) do to ensure we do a lot more to ensure countries across the world have access to Great British Food.”
Responding, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice provided reassurance to the house: “We want to create new markets and export more food from this country, we will continue to press hard to create new markets and new opportunities on the global stage.”
Mr Evans also took the time to speak during Andrea Leadsom’s Business Statement, where he raised an issue stemming from the controversial publication on BBC pay: “I learnt today that a gentleman call Derek Thompson, who apparently plays Charlie in Casualty, earns up to £400,000 a year, and yet a real nurse earns just £23,000.”
Mr Evans, who is currently campaigning for an easement of the public sector pay cap continued “Somebody who makes life and death decisions on a daily basis earns a fraction of an actor who pretends to make life and death decisions. Could we have a debate as soon as possible about slicing £1 billion from the BBC licence fee fund, to pay to the NHS to those who deserve a higher salary?”
Earlier this week Mr Evans proposed a review of wages in the public sector, saying: “I also believe that raising salaries at the lower end of public service and freezing those for senior personnel earning 6 figure salaries will help the situation, and is necessary in the current climate.”