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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
North West: Fair trade
Jim Clarke
Politics Show North West

It was double lattes all round for supporters of the Fair Trade movement.

A Fairtrade coffee picker, picture courtesy of the Fairtrade Foundation
The scheme guarantee a decent wage to producers in developing countries

Marks and Spencers, the third biggest chain on the high street, announced that they are switching to Fair Trade products in all their coffee shops.

The move will double the amount of Fair Trade coffee on sale and represents a huge boost to the campaign that aims to give a fair price to Third World farmers.

Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade ... a trading partnership which is aimed at sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. Fair trade seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning.
International Federation for Alternative Trade

No one doubts that Fair Trade is a good thing.

The question is, can it ever be much more than a bit of liberal window dressing to salve the conscience of the liberal consumer?

Fair Trade town

Politics Show North West tackles that very question, taking a look at what is happening in the Lancashire market town of Garstang.

Garstang is officially "Britain's first Fair Trade town", a title granted in 2000.

Most businesses in the town either stock fair trade products or have pledged to use them.

The local council serves fair trade at its meetings ... and the lady who runs a local café bakes fair trade scones.

Small scale stuff perhaps, but Garstang has become the spearhead of a much bigger movement.

There are now 68 towns and cities with Fair Trade status. Another 172 are working towards it.

Britain is now the biggest market for Fair Trade products, with sales having grown by 83% in two years.

Ghanaian expedition

In summer 2004 a group from Garstang travelled to the village of New Koforidua in central Ghana, in the heart of the Ghana's cocoa growing region.

The farmers of New Koforidua all belong to a Fair Trade cooperative.

As well as getting a higher price for the cocoa, the cooperative is paid a premium that is used to build community facilities.

Politics Show's Gill Dummigan travelled with the Garstang group and Gill reports on what she found out there and takes a look at how they promote fair trade in Garstang.

... Also on Politics Show North West

Metrolink expansion

Manchester tram
Three new routes were planned for Greater Manchester

Plans for a "big Bang" expansion of Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail system ended not with a bang but a whimper.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said projected costs had risen too high and effectively killed off the project by refusing to commit government money.

The decision was completely unexpected and caused outrage.

Money wasted?

Plans had been put in place for new lines to Manchester Airport, Oldham, Rochdale, and Ashton-under-Lyme.

Around £200m had been spent on the preparations, money that will be completely wasted if the decision is not reversed.

Now a campaign is underway to revive the project.

Manchester's 20 MPs met Alistair Darling and they have an upcoming meeting with Tony Blair.

Politics Show North West examines the campaign's chances of success and gets reactions from the MPs after that ministerial showdown.

Have your say

Let us know what you think. That is the Politics Show, Sunday 12 September, at 12.30pm.

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Politics from around the UK...

Fairtrade coffee pledge from M&S
08 Sep 04  |  Business
UK store's beacon for fair trade
26 Nov 02  |  Business
New tram for 'Back on Track' push
06 Sep 04  |  Manchester
Council wants Darling resignation
21 Jul 04  |  Manchester


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