6th November 2020


Rural Rap

Roger Gough, Leader of KCC, has written to business leaders in the County

He writes that, working with business support and public sector colleagues across Kent, the council wants to ensure that businesses come through the next few weeks, and that the Kent economy can be renewed. 

He notes that the first priority must be health, and that the more quickly and firmly this can be borne down upon, the better the prospect of returning to normal business conditions.

He also draws attention to support to which businesses are entitled, namely:

The Kent & Medway Growth Hub, funded by KCC, the Kent District Councils, and SELEP.  This will provide advice on available financial support and wider assistance.

THE COVID-19 BUSINESS HELPLINE, to which KCC has extended its financial support – again businesses can receive up to date support from a team of advisors.

Through existing groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the IoD and Visit Kent, among others, KCC will work with the networks to co-ordinate support and return the county to business as usual as quickly as possible.

Finally KCC will provide regular business updates through its website and social media.  This will alert to any changes in guidance and restrictions that may affect business and staff.

HUNDREDS OF BIRDS ARE TO BE CULLED AT A DEAL POULTRY FARM FOLLOWING AN OUTBREAK OF AVIAN FLU, reports the BBC and Farming UK.  A 1km restricted zone has been placed around the premises.  PHE said the risk to the UK population was “very low” but it was “looking for evidence of spread to control and eliminate it.”  All 480 birds at the site are to be “humanely culled.”  There will be no impact on food supply as the farm does not supply poultry, meat or eggs commercially.  Bird keepers are to remain alert for signs of disease.

CATAPULTS HAVE BEEN SEIZED AND A MAN ARRESTED IN FAVERSHAM AS RURAL OFFICERS TACKLE HARE COURSING, reports Kent Police.  Catapults and ball bearings were seized by Rural Task Force officers who responded to concerns about poaching in Stalisfield.  Officers attended the area and stopped a car in Throwley, seizing catapults, ball bearings and fishing equipment.  A man was arrested in connection with rogue trader offences in a neighbouring county.  The incident was reported via the Farm Watch social media messaging group.  kent.police.uk/news/kent/news2/policing-news/2011/catapults-seized-and-man-arrested-in-faversham-as-rural-officers-tackle-hare-coursing/

SHEPHERD NEAME’S BOSS HAS BLASTED NO. 10’S DECISION MAKING AS “ABSOLUTELY LUDICROUS,” reports Kent Online and the BBC.  Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive, fears the knock-on effect for the pub industry will be devastating.  “The sector has zero trust in the Government as this is the fourth change of strategy in six weeks,” he said.  Serving takeaway beer was credited as providing a “lifeline” for struggling pubs during the first lockdown, with many making ends meet on the back of sales.  However, under the new regs, pubs and bars cannot serve any form of alcohol to takeaway.  “We signed up to give away a bit our freedom to support the NHS, which is a worthy cause,” said Mr Neame, “but we did not sign up for some form of back door social reengineering.”   kentonline.co.uk/faversham/news/its-ludicrous-and-an-absolute-outrage-236707/

FOOD AND FARMING CAMPAIGNERS HAVE A WON A VICTORY IN THE BATTLE OVER POST-BREXIT FOOD IMPORTS, reports the Financial Times and Farming UK.  The Government has a greed to a permanent body that will examine trade deals before they are signed.  The agriculture industry has been concerned that post-Brexit deals will allow the import of cheap food produced to a lower standard than exists in the UK.  The government has said that a Trade and Agriculture Commission, created this year with a six-month remit, will become a permanent body with a statutory role advising on trade deals.  The independent advisory group will produce a report to Parliament on each new deal ahead of a 21 day scrutiny process, after a government U-turn in the face of industry lobbying.

MPs HAVE VOTED AGAIN TO REJECT ENSHRINING UK FOOD STANDARDS INTO LAW, reports Farming UK.  The Bill returned to the Commons this week after peers voted through crucial amendments.  While the government has approved a new statutory basis for the Trade and Ag Commission, farming groups are demanding further protections: namely UK standards on environment, welfare and food to be maintained and not undermined by lower standard agri-food imports.  The Bill now returns to the Lords for the next round of ping pong.   farminguk.com/news/mps-vote-down-crucial-food-standards-amendment_56905.html

THE GOVERNMENT’S REFUSAL TO PRIORITISE FRESH MEAT AT PORTS RISKS MILLIONS IN LOST EXPORT ORDERS, reports Farming UK.  The £8.7bn trade in meat currently flows seamlessly to and from the EU and keeps the just-in-time food supply chain moving.  But it could run into a brick wall because the government had declined to prioritise fresh meat at UK ports, claims the BMPA.  If a lorry is carrying anything other than live seafood products or day-old chicks, it will have to join the queue behind other lorries carrying everything from toasters to tissues.  The BMPA maintains that the current stance takes no account of the perishability of the goods on board lorries.

THE COUNTRY FOOD TRUST IS TO WORK WITH THE BRITISH WILD VENISON WORKING GROUP TO HELP FEED CHILDREN IN NEED, reports the Countryside Alliance.  The Country Food Trust was set up in 2015 with the aim of helping provide delicious meals to people in food poverty.  In August this year they reached the milestone of delivering over 1.5m meals since inception.  While much of this has been with their renowned pheasant curry and pheasant casserole, they have – since Covid – also donated meat that would usually be destined for restaurants, such as duck, chicken and turkey.  Since the summer, they have also distributed over 62,000 British venison meals.  Child-friendly Venison Bolognese has now been added to the menu, and this year’s Winter Appeal will be aimed specifically at feeding children in need.


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

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