Election 2015

Labour’s manifesto: food industry implications

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Labour manifesto pledged a long-term strategy for the food sector
The Labour manifesto pledged a long-term strategy for the food sector

Related tags: Minimum wage, Food

Labour pledged to expand the role of the supermarket watchdog to protect food producers, create better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy, while creating a “world-leading food, farm and fisheries sector” in its manifesto released yesterday (April 13).

If successful in the May 7 election, the party promised to “put in place a long-term strategy for the sector​” and “to promote the best of British produce”.

Other key food and drink industry promises included renewed action to curb the marketing of unhealthy food to children and measures on high-strength alcohol.

“We will set maximum permitted levels of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed substantially to children,”​ promised the manifesto, repeating a previous pledge.

‘Maximum permitted levels of sugar’

Targeted measures would also be taken on high-strength, low cost-alcohol products that were said to fuel the nation's problem drinking.

Both measures would form part of a preventative public health plan, designed to improve outcomes, tackle inequalities and to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) remained sustainable.

“For example, 3.2M people are currently diagnosed with diabetes, and it is estimated that spending on treatment will rise from £10bn to £17bn a year over the next 25 years if action is not taken, such as to reduce levels of obesity,” ​according to the party's election document.

The manifesto also repeated previously made promises to ban some “exploitative”​ zero-hours contracts and freeze energy bills.

One new pledge concerned lifting the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.

Lifting the minimum wage

A commitment was made not to raise the basic or higher rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT.

On youth employment, Labour promised to provide a starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year.

The party also pledged to campaign for EU reform to benefit UK interests.

Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote in the introduction to the document: “The fundamental truth that runs through this manifesto is that Britain will only succeed when working people succeed. It is an idea at the heart of my beliefs. And it drives our better plan for a better future.”

He promised a society where “hard work is rewarded, with high skill, high wage jobs”.

In a bid to allay fears about the party’s business policy he pledged: “An economy built on strong and secure foundations, where we balance the books. It means building a future for all our young people, so they can get world-class apprenticeships and access to affordable, higher education. It means strong public services, rescuing our NHS.”

Miliband also promised to respond to people’s concerns about immigration “with proper controls”.

Read the full Labour manifesto – A better plan for a better future – here​.

Read details of the Conservative manifesto here​.

Labour manifesto on food, drink and business

  • Expand the role of the supermarket watchdog
  • Create better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy
  • Devise long-term strategy for the sector
  • Promote the best of British produce
  • Set maximum permitted levels of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed to children
  • Measures on high-strength, low cost-alcohol products
  • Ban some zero-hours contracts
  • Freeze energy bills
  • Lift minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019
  • No increase in the basic or higher rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT
  • Starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year.
  • Campaign for EU reform

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