Town in danger of losing Fairtrade tag

IPSWICH is in danger of losing its Fairtrade Town status due to a lack of support, its steering group claimed today.

Naomi Cassidy

IPSWICH is in danger of losing its Fairtrade Town status due to a lack of support, its steering group claimed today.

The group, which comprises a number of representatives from professional bodies in the town, has called for more support from Ipswich Borough Council to ensure the status is upheld when the next bid is made.

The town was awarded a Fairtrade status in February after its products, which help the poorest farmers in the world, were widely promoted and available to buy in local businesses.

However the majority of councillors believe the group, which was formed in 2005, should apply for community support just like any other voluntary organisation.

Ipswich Borough Council agreed in 2005 to pursue the goal of securing Fairtrade Town status. An open meeting was arranged later that year to take the idea further and more than 20 people, including those from schools, churches, and the East of England Co-operative Society, formed a voluntary steering group to push forward Faitrade Town status.

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Andrew Cann, leader of the Liberal Democrats group, produced an amendment to a motion at a council meeting which stated that they supported Fairtrade but asked for other organisations and bodies to get involved to help.

Carole Jones, the chairman of the Fairtrade Steering Group and a Labour councillor, said: “Fairtrade Town status can be taken away by the Fairtrade Foundation if a town does not continue to make progress in expanding the use of Fairtrade products.

“Without the original help from the council, Ipswich would never have become a Fairtrade town. Ipswich could be in the unenviable position of being the first town in Britain to have Fairtrade status taken away from it.”

Mr Cann said: “There is a process for getting funding for these things. I do not think any organisation should receive preferential treatment. Any group getting funding or support should apply on the same basis.

“We do support Fairtrade but the council cannot be responsible for getting that. How the group maintain the status is up to them.”

Do you think the Fairtrade Town Status is important? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail