Image: Catherine Bebbington/Parliamentary Copyright

The General Election is over, what’s next?

June 14, 2017 - Emilie Schultze, Campaigns Officer

Last week, more than 30 million voted in a General Election that took many by surprise. While much remains uncertain, it’s safe to say that we will see a lot of change in the years to come. It’s an important moment to reach out to our MPs and ask them to stand up for fairer trade with developing countries.

We live in a time of change. Brexit, growing inequalities, climate change and a fast-changing global economy – to mention a few things. And while it can seem overwhelming at times, this is also our chance to change the world for the better.

Traidcraft supporters have long been campaigning for fairer trade that gives more back to farmers and workers in developing countries. We are asking the hard questions and calling for big changes. And our voice is gaining ground.

For the first time in decades, trade is at the heart of the public debate. People are increasingly aware about irresponsible business practices abroad and unfair trading practices that breed poverty and inequality. There is a growing sense that something needs to change.

What you can do: write to your newly elected MP

Now that we enter post-election time, it’s important that we raise our voices about the issues we care about. We need our elected representatives to stand up for a fairer world, where wealth is shared more equally and where everyone has the right to a decent life.

One of the most effective ways to reach out to your new MP is to write a personal letter or email. And it’s probably not as hard as you think! Here are our top tips:

  • Tell your MP why the issue matters to you
  • Be brief, polite and have a clear ask
  • Provide your full name and postal address
  • Let us know if you get a reply

If you’ve got time, try and link the message to the work and interest area of your MP. Your MP may be a minister, shadow minister or sitting in a relevant Select Committee, which means they have influence over a certain policy area. There are many places you can find information about them, but a good place to start is www.theyworkforyou.com.

If you’re writing a letter to your MP, send it to their local constituency office or to: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Pointers about Traidcraft’s campaigns

Here are some of the key facts and messages about our three most recent campaign: Brexit trade, Justice and Supermarkets. You can mention all the issues, or just the one that means most to you:

On the Brexit trade campaign:
  • Brexit could have a big impact on Britain’s trading relations with the world’s poorest countries.
  • Millions of people in in developing countries rely on trade with the UK. Their products could face £1 billion in extra tariffs, pushing people into greater poverty.
  • But Brexit could be an opportunity for fairer trade. If the government takes the right measures, Brexit can be the moment we change trade so it really works for farmers and workers in the poorest countries.

Question for your MP: Please will you tell me what you will do to persuade the government to give producers from the poorest countries access to the UK market after Brexit?

UPDATE ON BREXIT TRADE CAMPAIGN:
25 June 2017: The government announced that goods from the world’s 48 poorest countries will continue to be sold in the UK without import taxes when we leave the EU. This is brilliant news for farmers, employees and businesses in those countries who rely on exports to the UK – and wouldn’t have happened without our campaign.
If you are able to write to your MP, please explain that the government’s announcement on ‘least developed countries’ is really welcome and ask if they will write to the government to let them know that they support the pledge to improve market access for low income and lower middle-income countries.
 
On the Justice campaign:
  • Some irresponsible British companies are harming and abusing people abroad, and getting away with it.
  • Between 2004 and 2014, 303 allegations of serious harm to people abroad were made against British companies, including cases of serious injury and deaths, but none of them led to prosecution.
  • Traidcraft Exchange and other development agencies are asking the government to update the law so that British companies can be prosecuted if they cause harm or abuse people abroad.

Question for your MP: Please let me know what you will do to support measures to make big companies legally accountable for abuses committed abroad?

On the Supermarkets campaign:
  • Supermarkets dominate the way we shop. But they can abuse their powerful position, buying from suppliers on unfair terms that leave workers and farmers with lower pay and worse conditions.  
  • After years of campaigning by Traidcraft supporters, the supermarkets’ watchdog (known as the Groceries’ Code Adjudicator) was put into place to support better trading relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers. This summer the government is reviewing it.
  • The remit of the GCA urgently needs to be expanded to include the many suppliers that sell to supermarkets indirectly.

Question for your MP: Please will you tell me what you will do to strengthen the powers of the Groceries’ Code Adjudicator?

Further information

If you want to know what each party’s manifesto said about Traidcraft’s campaigns read our blog. More information about our campaigns can be found here. And if you need any assistance at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on campaign@traidcraft.co.uk.

Thanks for standing up for fairer trade for everyone!

 

While much remains uncertain, it’s safe to say that we will see a lot of change in the years to come.