Local funding reforms gain momentum, and Chris Loder MP reflects on his personal commitment to animal welfare
The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill is a key piece of legislation which is currently on its passage through Parliament. This is a vitally important Bill, which, once ratified, will ban the export from Great Britain of cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs for slaughter and fattening. It seeks to stop unnecessary stress, exhaustion and injury caused to exported live animals.
It’ll also permanently stop our well-cared for farm animals being loaded onto a lorry and sent thousands of miles by land and sea to a destination in Southern Europe – or even further afield, with reports that these animals go on to be slaughtered not even in continental Europe, but in places such as Libya and Lebanon.
Since I entered Parliament, I have campaigned for the introduction of this legislation. When I succeeded with getting my own law onto the statute book (increasing the maximum sentence for cruelty to animals in 2021), I committed to stopping live animal exports too.
Animal welfare is a very personal matter for me; I am a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, and as the son of tenant beef farmers I am acutely aware of how important high animal welfare standards are. Equally, it is of deep concern to me that any animal should be put through unnecessary trauma and treated inhumanely.
I have supported, and will continue to support, the Livestock Exports Bill throughout its passage. Also on my animal welfare agenda is legislation to tackle the distressing issue of animal worrying. There are countless and often graphic examples in the media of instances when livestock is chased and/or attacked by dogs off the lead. These instances have devastating consequences for livestock keepers, with financial and psychological impacts.
I expect to make progress with the animal worrying cause in a few weeks’ time and I will be sure to update you in due course.
In other news, back in November, readers of The BV may recall that I tabled a debate in Parliament to improve the financial situation of our rural councils. I’ve consistently led the charge for fairness and reform when it comes to the allocation and calculation of local government funding, because it’s simply unacceptable for rural people in West Dorset to have to pay more in Council Tax than those living in urban areas. This is just one instance of the rural/urban disparity that we all experience, and which I outlined to the Chancellor of the Exchequer only a few weeks ago.
Since that important debate, much progress has been made to address this unfavourable situation. In late January, the Government announced its intention to provide significant additional measures for local authorities across the country, worth £600 million. This funding package includes £500 million of new funding for local authorities with responsibility for adults and children’s social care, which includes Dorset Council. The funding will be distributed through the Social Care Grant.
My campaign to ensure greater recognition of the specific needs of rural areas has also received special attention. I’ve been informed that the Government will be providing an additional £15 million for the Rural Services Delivery Grant – which represents an increase of more than 15 per cent and is the largest increase since 2018/19. It means that additional funding will be available for Dorset Council, and I expect further details to be announced shortly.
As always, I’d be most interested to know your views on this topic. You can contact me by email: email@example.com and you can keep up with my latest news by visiting chrisloder.co.uk or write to me at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.