G'S Fresh - Europe's leading fresh produce company - received a special visit recently.
Cambridgeshire-based MEP Vicky Ford took a break from the election campaign trial to visit the mammoth firm's Barway site.
The trip was organised by Lucy Frazer QC, the conservative parliamentary candidate for South East Cambridgeshire.
Speaking after her visit, MEP Ford said: "Companies like G's are key to providing us all with healthy fresh food.
"It is really impressive to hear how they are exporting as far afield as the USA and Russia. I think it is very important to listen to the concerns of business big and small when we are negotiating our relationship with Europe."
John Shropshire, chairman of G's Fresh, said: "Being a business that is dependent on a very large amount of trade in Europe, we were delighted to welcome MEP Vicky Ford to G's."
G's farms 11,300 hectares in the UK, Czech Republic and Spain, turning over £370 million and employing around 5,000 people.
Read more:Ely News
Farmers in the east say they are willing to risk having their subsidies cut to avoid adhering to a new EU rule which they say will leave them far worse off.
The European directive, which comes into effect next year, means all but the very smallest farms will have to grow at least three different crops each year.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford plans to put together a dossier of evidence to record the impact the new rule has on the region.
"We have been told there will be a review after year one. I want to know now what the decisions are that farmers are making now so we can build up that dossier and work with Defra to show why it's not working in the East of England."
Read more: ITV
Minster for Skills Matthew Hancock joins MEP Vicky Ford and Robert Halfon in Harlow College visit
THE Government's Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock and Euro MP Vicky Ford joined Harlow MP Robert Halfon in a visit to Harlow College.
The Conservative politicians spent Friday afternoon at the college where they took part in a round table discussion on employability with Harlow College principal Karen Spencer, employers from the town and college students. The visit also included a virtual tour of the new Sir Charles Kao UTC with UTC principal Mike McKeaveney.
Mr Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said: "Harlow College has got really impressive links to local employers to make sure that when people get training here they are learning skills that local employers want. They seem to have really strong links with the community not least with the wonderful MP Robert Halfon and it's great to be here.
"It is all about making sure students can progress whether that is through work or in higher education, Harlow College is giving young people options and that self-confidence to progress.
"My view is when young people leave school or college they should go into higher education or apprenticeships. They should do what suits them, it's important to give options to do both and ensure they can succeed."
Ms Ford said: "I am really impressed and one of the things I have noticed about local schools and colleges like Harlow College is the links to local employers and matchmaking for future jobs.
"The UTC is ground breaking and to be teaching coding to the next generation - a skill that we seem to have lost - is so vital."
Read more: http://www.harlowstar.co.uk/News/Harlow-news/Minster-for-Skills-Matthew-Hancock-joins-MEP-Vicky-Ford-and-Robert-Halfon-in-Harlow-College-visit-20140503152551.htm#ixzz31bjrAhdJ
Vicky Ford slams court ruling
East Anglian Conservative MEP, Vicky Ford, has slammed today's European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling against the UK's legal challenge to the EU's proposed Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
Mrs Ford has been at the forefront of the campaign against the FTT which would oblige the UK to tax EU shares and other financial transactions traded in the UK despite opting out of the proposal.
Mrs Ford said "If trades on shares of French companies are taxed in the UK but not in Singapore, then they will be traded in Singapore. Financiers will leave the UK and it will be left to pensioners, savers and taxpayers to pay the price.
It is outrageous that that the EU should let some countries force others to levy taxes that they don't agree with. This is precisely why the Prime Minister vetoed the new fiscal treaty in 2011 and why we need a robust renegotiation of our relationship with the EU. Luckily this ECJ ruling is not a final decision and we will fight the UK's corner on this all the way."
Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Business/Business-News/Vicky-Ford-slams-court-ruling-20140430184340.htm#ixzz31bkZz7eU
MEP pledges support for British breeding industry
THE European Agricultural Policy and protecting the thoroughbred population from infectious diseases were among the topics discussed when MEP Vicky Ford and Newmarket MP Matthew Hancock met Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble last week.
In a statement released after the meeting it was reported that both Ford and Hancock promised to maintain their support for the equine sector. Ford is already actively involved in promoting equine issues at the European Parliament in Brussels, including campaigns for improved welfare for horses travelling across the continent for slaughter and increased funding into an African Horse Sickness vaccine.
Speaking after the meeting, Ford said: "From the top racehorse to the Thelwell pony, the equine sector is a very important part of the UK's rural culture. Newmarket is not only the home of racing, it is also home to world-leading breeders and many jobs rely on this. Organisations like the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association in Newmarket and Norfolk-based World Horse Welfare do a great job, and it is vital their concerns on international issues are addressed."
Thoroughbred Breeders' Association chief executive Louise Kemble said "We cannot overstate the value of the positive support we receive from both Vicky Ford and Matthew Hancock. Since taking office as MEP for the East of England, Vicky and her colleagues have always been on hand to provide the TBA with unstinting support. Their input has helped to safeguard the breeding industry on a number of occasions, and maintaining this work is particularly important with the upcoming European elections."
Read more at Racing Post
CONSERVATIVE campaigners were out in force at the weekend to support Harlow MP Robert Halfon.
As part of a major campaign day around 100 Tory activists from across the country visited the town and were joined by the Harlow Conservatives, Essex Tamil and MEP Vicky Ford, whose constituency includes Harlow.
Read more: Harlow Star
On the day the National Farmers Union launch their European elections manifesto, East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford has launched a plain English guide to summarise the reform negotiations.
Mrs Ford said "I remember writing essays in the need to reform the CAP when I was a student in the 1980s and it's still far from perfect. In particular some of the "greening" elements which are meant to help biodiversity are a huge backwards step for many East Anglian farms – they won't help food, farming or the environment. As a result I did not support this package of reforms – but it's never the less important that people can see what has been agreed."
The report is available here
Read more at Your Thurrock
THURROCK MEPs Vicky Ford (Cons) and Richard Howitt (Lab) spoke out in frustration last night after a close vote in the European Parliament which could severely limit the work of the Internet Watch Foundation in their fight against child sexual abuse images on the internet.
New European rules on electronic communications included special clauses which allow for specialist organisations like the IWF take action to prevent serious crimes. The IWF, which is a charity based in Cambridgeshire, shares information about websites hosting child sexual abuse images with internet operators so that they can be blocked and ultimately removed from the internet.
However an amendment tabled just days before the vote by socialist, liberal and green MEPs deleted these powers. It was passed by a narrow 330 votes to 275. Fortunately this is not a final vote as the amended law will now be sent back to ministers in the 28 countries concerned for their further negotiations.
Speaking after the vote Vicky said, "This amendment is dangerous and irresponsible. Child sexual abuse is unacceptable, we need world wide action across the World Wide Web – I'm all for an open internet but this goes too far. IWF is doing an amazing job, I will fight their corner and will not support measures that risk their work."
Read more at Your Thurrock
What Conservatives have achieved by sitting at the EU table
SIR – In Britain, people often talk about how the EU needs reform, but do not recognise the reforms that have already been made, which stem from much hard work by Conservative MEPs and a Conservative government.
A few days ago, we completed a major agreement on how to change international laws for failing banks. The United Kingdom achieved three important victories.
First, future bank collapses will not result in taxpayer bail-outs but in large creditor bail-ins, with ordinary people's deposits protected. Secondly, eurozone bank failures will not undermine the rest of Europe's economy and create the uncertainty of recent years, thanks to a common fund for resolving their difficulties, managed at an EU level. And thirdly, Britain has been protected by a firewall from having to pay towards bank failures in a currency we chose not to join.
All this was achieved because we sat at the table and promoted this reformist agenda. That includes the final 16-hour all‑night negotiations with EU ministers.
This shows that not only is reform of the EU possible, but that we are delivering it already. We can only build on these successes if we have MEPs willing to sit around the table and fight Britain's corner.
Vicky Ford MEP (Con)
Read more: Daily Telegraph
Data protection package and NSA surveillance: "Europe needs a digital Bill of Rights"
The lack of progress in the Council towards agreeing on an EU data protection package in response to US surveillance of EU citizens, companies and governments was severely criticised by MEPs in Tuesday's debate.
Rapporteurs also called on the members of the EPP and ECR group - some of whom are hesitating or threatening to vote against - to back the data protection package to be put to a vote on Wednesday.
"We have shown that this Parliament cares about citizens' concerns about the use of their personal data. After two years of negotiations it would be irresponsible to postpone the adoption of the package. (..) The only winners would be the big data companies in Silicon Valley", said rapporteur Jan Albrecht (Greens/EFA; DE).
Members of the EPP (Sean Kelly, IE) and ECR (Vicky Ford, Timothy Kirkhope) warned that the package might hamper the work of medical researchers or scare off businesses.
Read more European Parliament News