Wokingham Times, 31 Oct

It was good news that the UK economy bounced back last quarter. Over the last two years many new jobs have been created. Unemployment here in Wokingham has remained mercifully very low. Conditions remain difficult, however, for families and businesses. I will continue to recommend the government to take more measures to promote growth, and help business. Finding enough orders and getting sufficient bank credit can still be a problem.

This week Parliament has a chance to debate how much money the European Union should spend over the period 2014-2020. This is a sore subject for many of us. We did not like the way the UK’s rebate, the reduction Margaret Thatcher got on our bills, was partially given away by the last government. We liked even less the failure of the EU to reform the high spending on agriculture, which was their promise in return for the surrender of more of our money.

The EU has rightly been lecturing its member states to do a better job controlling their borrowing. It has issued instructions to some of the Euroland states to cut their public spending, as the EU thinks they are spending far too much. It is far from helpful that at the same time the EU comes up with future budget proposals that mean a lot more EU spending. That all has to be paid for by the member states. The more the EU spends, the bigger their deficits will be, and the more they have to borrow to pay for it.

I am urging the UK government to object strongly to increased budgets for the EU at a time of financial strain in most EU countries. The spending the EU undertakes on regional aid, more regulation and agricultural subsidy is not as important as the money we spend at home on benefits for those in need, and on paying for our schools, hospitals and other crucial local services. Surely where we are looking for savings EU programmes would come high up the list for less, whilst these important domestic services would be high up the list for protection?

Several of you have written to me about the proposed badger cull in trial areas, which has now been postponed for a year. I have held meetings with Ministers to stress that many would prefer a solution based on vaccination rather than culling. There remain difficulties with this approach according to Ministers which I have set out on www.johnredwood.com. I am also receiving copies of a campaign email about forests which some of you are sending to Owen Paterson. He is the right man to send it all too. He and his staff will soon have to conclude on how to proceed following a report into the future of our forests, and in the light of your representations.

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One Comment

  1. Dr Dan H.
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you’d love a solution to the problem of bovine tuberculosis in badgers that involves only vaccination, but there are significant problems with this method of control. First and foremost, vaccination against bovine tuberculosis does NOT prevent an animal (or a human, come to that) from getting infected with the disease. The only effect of vaccination is to slow the rate of progression of the disease, and reduce the excretion rates of bacteria.

    Secondly, the vaccination wears off over time. To maintain the limited protection that vaccination gives, you have to re-vaccinate yearly. Badgers are not the brightest animals in the world, but once cage-trapped once a badger does tend to become extremely trap-wary thereafter. Essentially the level of vaccination needed is not attainable in reality.

    Thirdly, vaccination of livestock against bovine tuberculosis is forbidden by EU law. This is because the vaccine used is a live vaccine, which makes it quite difficult to tell vaccinated animals from diseased animals.

    This problem is entirely man-made. The control systems used up to the 1990s were working perfectly adequately and bovine TB was almost extinct. It was the cessation of adequate controls which permitted it to run rampant across the country. The hidden tragedy here is that bovine TB infection is not without effect on badgers; to the contrary infection with this disease guarantees a slow, prolonged and utterly miserable death for an infected brock, if it does not succumb to a road accident before this.

    Inaction on properly tackling bovine TB is causing untold suffering to badgers as well as to cattle, sheep, deer, llamas, alpacas and so on, and will eventually result in the European Union stepping in and telling our useless MPs what to do. Perhaps it is time our Government grew up, faced reality and acted?

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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