Shropshire Star

Claims meat and dairy will be banned at council events dismissed as 'scaremongering'

A council leader has hit back at what he called "scaremongering" suggestions that meat and dairy will be banned at council functions.

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Powys County Council leader, Councillor James Gibson-Watt.

Powys County Council leader Councillor James Gibson-Watt has said there is "no plan" to introduce a ban on meat or dairy.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Gibson-Watt has hit back against Conservatives who raised concerns that meat- and dairy-free menus could be on their way to schools and council events in Powys.

Conservative councillors are to planning to introduce a notice of motion at a council meeting today that seeks a commitment to serve meat and dairy in schools and council events for at least the next five years.

Councillor Iain McIntosh has raised concerns that Powys could follow the lead of Liberal Democrat/Labour and Green Party-run Oxfordshire County Council, which decided to ban meat and dairy products from official council functions earlier this year.

Councillor Gibson-Watt said: “There is absolutely no plan to introduce a meat or dairy ban of any kind in Powys and Councillor McIntosh will be aware of that.

“It is a shame he rather uses council time to play politics rather than focus on real issues such as the cost of living and energy crisis, which incidentally is having a tremendous impact on our local farmers.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will always back our local producers.”

He added that since July, Councillor Sian Cox has held three "community assemblies" bringing farmers, food growers, environmentalists, and citizens together to discuss food, farming, and nature in Wales.

“Not a single person has spoken of a meat ban fear despite scaremongering from Councillor McIntosh,” said Councillor Gibson-Watt.

Councillor Gibson-Watt said: “We will continue to serve healthy nutritional meals which balance the amount of carbohydrates, good quality meat, dairy and non-meat protein products, fruit, vegetables, drinks, and dairy products, produced and provided through local supply chains where possible.”

At Thursday’s meeting Councillor McIntosh will ask for a council commitment not to ban meat and dairy amid what he calls "considerable concern" that Powys Council will introduce a meat and dairy ban.

Councillor Iain McIntosh said: “Following discussions with many farmers, businesses, and members of the public, there is considerable concern that as Powys County Council is under the control of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, a meat and dairy ban may be introduced here too.

“This council therefore calls upon the Labour/Lib Dem administration to commit to serve good quality meat and dairy products provided locally where possible at all official meetings and events where food is to be served and at all council-run buildings all Powys schools and colleges where food is served, for the remainder of this term of administration. ”

He added that vegetarian and vegan food should be an “option.” His motion will be seconded by fellow Conservative Councillor Les George.