Speaking at a meeting of manufacturers and members of the All-Party Parliamentary (APPG) Food and Drink Manufacturing Group, chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “The food and drink industry has shown great resilience and adaptability in recent years. This coalition government is keen to support the future success of the industry by creating the right conditions for the sector to thrive.”
The meeting, held today (Janurary 31) to discuss industry’s 2020Vision to deliver 20% sustainable growth by 2020, focused on Britain’s research and development capability, demand for British brands in developing export markets, reform of the tax system and the skills shortage.
British success story
John Stevenson MP, APPG Food and Drink Manufacturing chair, said: “Food and drink manufacturing in the UK is a great British success story, making a significant contribution to employment, growing GDP [gross domestic product], and producing iconic brands for the home and export markets.
“As the largest manufacturing sector, it is important that parliamentarians find ways to facilitate growth for the future.”
Jim Moseley, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) president and md of General Mills UK, added: “UK manufacturers are determined to maximise their contribution to UK recovery and deliver sustainable growth.
“It is clear that we can achieve this with the right entrepreneurial approach from food businesses and the right regulatory framework from government.”
The meeting follows last week’s launch of the government’s Farming, Food and Drink Exports Action Plan to boost exports of British food and drink to high-growth markets.
The plan will support companies by offering access to a range of advice at ministerial and ambassadorial level.
Melanie Leech, FDF director general, welcomed the plan for containing “many common-sense actions that can be taken forward in a relatively short timescale to deliver results as well as those initiatives that are more complex and longer term”.
The plan was developed by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the government body UK Trade & Investment, industry trade associations and exporting companies.
Food and drink exports were valued at £10.8bn in 2010 and are expected to reach nearly £12bn when official 2011 figures are released in March.
The FDF launched its 2020 Vision in December 2011 in partnership with the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and DEFRA. For more details, click here.