December 2011

No blind eye to modern slavery

Commenting on the annual UN day for the Abolition of Slavery Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"The reality is that slavery has not been consigned to the history books. It's vital to highlight that while slavery in the form of the transatlantic slave trade was abolished millions of people are being enslaved today through trafficking for prostitution child exploitation or forced labour."

"The UK government has acknowledged that human trafficking either for the sex trade or for cheap labour is a problem in this country. Its decision to sign up to a new EU directive to catch traffickers was a welcome boost for the essential cross-border policing and prosecution."

Tough action justified to bar battery eggs from London shelves

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is backing tough UK action to prevent imported eggs produced in battery cages from being sold to British shoppers.

An EU ban on battery cages comes into effect on 1 January next year with egg producers required to provide hens with larger and more comfortable cages which include nesting and scratching areas to allow more natural behaviour. But 13 EU Member States have failed to fully comply with this legislation.

Farm minister Jim Paice MP has now announced that the UK government has reached a voluntary consensus with the domestic egg industry manufacturers and processors that they will not sell or use battery-farmed eggs. A major route is the import of liquid egg for use in making processed food.

The EU must waste no time in developing a strategy to tackle diabetes, writes Sarah Ludford.

Cancer and Alzheimer's have deservedly been the subject of EU concern in recent years. But when you look at the figures on the incidence of diabetes the failure of the EU to come up with a specific strategy for tackling this disease is inexplicable.

Diabetes falls into the category of 'non-communicable diseases' or NCDs ones which are non-infectious so you cannot catch them. They include asthma heart disease and strokes as well as diabetes. In the rich world the incidence of these conditions represents a public health emergency already but developing countries are set to catch up. At a landmark summit held in September UN member states pledged their commitment to address the global NCD crisis and MEPs passed a resolution urging effective EU action.

Islington MEP sees behind the scenes at the post office

In December Sarah visited the Almeida Street post office delivery centre to meet the postmen and women at their busiest time of yearIslington Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford today visited Royal Mail's Almeida Street Delivery Centre to pass on best Christmas wishes and get an insight into the work of the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

EU must use political clout to end child slavery

In December Sarah met with Anti-Slavery International in Brussels as they presented a petition to the Commission asking for an end to preferential trade tariffs with UzbekistanLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford met supporters of Anti-Slavery International as they delivered a 10000-signature petition to the President of the Europ

Sarah's bulletin: 12th December

Britain out in the cold

The fall-out from last Friday’s summit on a new EU treaty imposing tighter fiscal discipline for 26 member States without the UK will be profound, and deeply alarming for us. I just hope that David Cameron sees sense very soon and returns to the negotiating table, explaining better the UK concerns and making another offer of cooperation to achieve an 'EU 26' treaty which would be better for us and better for them. It would avoid the months of tortuous legal wrangling required to clarify exactly how EU 26 relates to the existing treaties and institutions, which will not impress either our citizens worried about  jobs or ‘the markets’.

London schools to benefit from investment in disadvantaged pupils

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the additional money that will be spent in London schools on children from deprived backgrounds.

In London 374 750 pupils are expected to be eligible meaning that our schools are set to benefit from an extra £224586000 to support disadvantaged pupils.

The Pupil Premium will be extending its reach to cover any child that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years. For 2012-13 the Premium will be worth £1.25 billion in total.

These are England's most disadvantaged pupils and they are set to benefit from £600 each after the Department for Education announced next year's Pupil Premium will increase by £112 for each pupil.

New directive will guarantee all suspects know their rights

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed today's endorsement by the European Parliament of a new EU Directive guaranteeing all criminal suspects information about their rights and the evidence against them.

The Directive would ensure that all people arrested or detained in an EU country would be given information about their procedural rights in an easily understandable form.

Sarah Ludford commented:

New labelling will give Londoners better safeguards on fruit drink content

London MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the decision by the European Parliament for stricter rules on the labelling and composition of fruit juices and fruit-based drinks.

MEPs are giving consumers across the EU information on exactly what 'fruit' drinks on the shelves contain. Those called fruit 'juice' cannot contain any added sugar and those which are nectars or concentrates must display what sugar and/or sweeteners are in them.

Sarah Ludford commented:

Euro-MPs free smallest firms from EU accounts red tape

The European Parliament has voted to exempt millions of 'micro' businesses from complex EU accounting rules. These smallest firms of 10 employees or fewer will only have to comply with national reporting requirements which usually demand only basic information.

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"It's very important to cut red tape when possible to boost jobs especially in these difficult economic times. So I'm delighted to back this exemption of the smallest firms which rarely operate across borders from complicated accounting rules."