Tag: enshrine

MPs reject calls by campaigners to enshrine food safety in UK law

Farmers and food campaigners were defeated on Monday night in their attempts to enshrine high food safety and animal welfare practices in British law.



a tractor in front of a building: A demonstration by farmers outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the vote.


© Getty Images
A demonstration by farmers outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the vote.

Several prominent backbench Tory MPs rebelled against the government to vote for amendments to the agriculture bill that would have given legal status to the standards, but the rebels were too few to overcome the government’s 80-seat majority and the key amendment fell by 332 votes to 279 after an often impassioned debate.

The government argued that giving current standards legal status was unnecessary as ministers had already committed to ensuring that UK food standards would be kept in any post-Brexit trade agreements. However, critics fear that the lack of a legally binding commitment in the agriculture bill will allow future imports of sub-standard food that will undercut British produce and expose consumers to risk.

Kath Dalmeny, chair of the Future British Standards Coalition, said: “It’s dismaying that the government has opposed attempts to put into law its own commitment to maintain British food standards. It is perfectly possible to have high standards at home and sign trade deals with new trading partners who meet them. It’s what consumers have repeatedly said they want.”

The bill, with its defeated amendments, will now return to the House of Lords and there will be further chances this week for debate. But the government’s majority gives proponents of a tougher bill a hill to climb, despite a recent YouGov poll that showed nine out of 10 people want to protect British standards on food and animal welfare in trade deals.

Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, said: “We hope the Lords take this public mandate to deliver the Conservative manifesto commitment to maintain standards, especially after it was significantly backed by Conservative MPs. We call on peers to secure guarantees that the public and MPs are told upfront about any changes to standards that might happen as a result of trade deals, and that the final say on any changes will be a decision for our elected representatives.”

Video: Hancock should consider resigning says Labour Deputy Leader (The Independent)

Hancock should consider resigning says Labour Deputy Leader

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The votes came as a Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 revealed the poor hygiene and welfare among livestock on intensive farms in the US. Although the government has given repeated assurances that chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef would not be imported to the UK under any trade deals, campaigners point out that banning these two products would still allow the import of many types of other food produced under conditions and with drugs, including antibiotics, that would be illegal in the UK.

Luke Pollard, the shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary, said: “The Conservatives have again broken their promise to British farmers and the public. No one wants lower quality food on our plates, but there

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Japan must revise BOJ law to speed digital yen, enshrine inflation goal: senior official

By Leika Kihara and Takahiko Wada



Kozo Yamamoto wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Yamamoto speaks in Tokyo


© Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon
FILE PHOTO: Yamamoto speaks in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan must swiftly revise laws to allow the central bank to issue a digital currency, a move that could provide a chance to reform the Bank of Japan’s existing mandates and enshrine its inflation target, a senior ruling party official said on Monday.

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Kozo Yamamoto, head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) council on financial affairs, said the BOJ risked being overtaken by private players who could launch their own digital currencies that could undermine the yen.

“If something too convenient pops up from the private sector, people might start to doubt whether they need yen as a currency unit. We must prevent this from happening,” he said. “This is fundamentally about protecting Japan’s currency sovereignty.”

Yamamoto said he would prod the government and relevant agencies to speed up efforts to draft a revised BOJ law and other necessary legislation for issuing central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

However, more broadly, Yamamoto has been a vocal advocate of making changes to the BOJ law, which sets out the central bank’s mandates.

Revising the law to include digital currencies would also present a good opportunity to make other changes such as adding an inflation target and job creation to the mandates, much like the U.S. Federal Reserve, he added.

“The new law should also clarify that 2% inflation is the BOJ’s policy target,” he told Reuters.

The BOJ does currently set 2% as its inflation target, introduced in 2013. But the target is not stipulated under the BOJ law, which says only that its role is to ensure Japan’s price moves and financial system are stable.

Central banks globally have been reviewing their strategic goals, with the European Central Bank widely expected to follow in the footsteps of the Fed in aiming for inflation of 2% on average, meaning that periods when prices grow too slowly can be compensated for with faster increases at another time.

‘TOO LATE’

Central banks began looking closely at digital currencies after Facebook last year announced its yet-to-be-launched digital token Libra that would be backed by a mixture of major currencies and government debt.

Japan has been cautious about moving too quickly on digital currencies given the social disruptions it could cause in a country that has the world’s most cash-loving population.

But China’s steady progress toward issuing digital currencies has prompted the government to reconsider, and pledge in this year’s policy platform to look more closely at the idea.

Other major central banks have also accelerated studies on CBDCs, given the recent rapid innovation in financial technology.

The BOJ said on Friday it would begin experimenting in the next fiscal year on how to operate its own digital currency.

Yamamoto said the BOJ’s timeframe was “too late,” adding that the first phase of tests should begin during the current fiscal year to March 2021.

CBDCs would also help regional banks, reeling from shrinking margins due

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