Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government Accused of Prejudging GM Debate

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government Accused of Prejudging GM Debate

Article excerpt

The Government has already come out in favour of GM crops, despite the national consultation exercise on their future use, Liberal Democrat Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Andrew George claimed yesterday.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been spending 26 times more promoting GM technology in the UK than it has on its GM public debate according to Mr George.

He described the GM public debate as "window dressing" and argued that because it concludes long before the final reports of the Government's farm scale trials are completed, public contributions can effectively be dismissed.

Defra is spending pounds 500,000 on the GM public debate, staging meetings across the country, with the closest one to the North-East taking place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

But Mr George pointed out that in 1999, the DTI announced a pounds 13m programme called Biowise which aimed "to improve UK competitiveness by encouraging technology transfer and the take-up of biotechnology applications across industry to help the UK biotechnology industry take advantage of developing markets in the UK and overseas. …

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