It seems to me that there has been a good deal of agreement on the issue of fair trade from all sides in this debate. All hon. Members who have taken part, whom I thank, have recognised the social impact and significance of fair trade standards and the use, as the Minister said, of fair trade as a key tool in poverty reduction.
It is amazing that, as many hon. Members have said, those fair trade volunteers standing in draughty church halls up and down the nation should have produced a real blast that has changed things for the better, leading to big business adopting fair trade standards and affecting producers in faraway countries, such as those banana producers in St Lucia mentioned by my right hon. Friend Stephen Timms. It has been a real turnaround.
Another issue that was picked up widely in the debate is the importance of inclusivity, of helping women and recognising their importance in trading and eradicating poverty. That is a key message that we must not forget: enabling women to trade and to support their families for a fair reward, and pursuing, as Drew Hendry said, the overarching campaign for justice. We have heard about the importance of the co-operative movement and its role in fair trade, which we must certainly recognise; the impact that not only Traidcraft—although most definitely Traidcraft—but many other members of the Fairtrade Foundation have had on big business; and consumers’ enthusiasm to follow fair trade, with a 7% increase in Fairtrade sales last year.
I welcome the Minister’s comments in response to the specific queries from Traidcraft. While his comments are very welcome, I am sure that Traidcraft and other fair trade producers will continue to push the Government to go one step further to ensure that we really can pursue fair trade, with an emphasis on gender focus and poverty reduction. Traidcraft has had a difficult time, but it has a plan and it will survive. It is not too late, by the way, to order for Christmas: we have until the 21st, so I encourage everyone to look out their catalogues and order. I wish Traidcraft well in its new role.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered Traidcraft and the future of fair trade.