The creation of the sector council recognised the importance of the many sub-sectors that make up the UK’s £112bn farm-to-fork food chain and employs almost 4M people, said the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
It hoped the sector council would enable industry growth, with exports, innovation and skills seen as priority areas for both food and drink manufacturing and the other sectors that make up the food chain.
Director general Ian Wright said: “We have been calling for a Food and Drink Sector Council for some time and this is recognition from government of the central importance of the food and drink supply chain to the economy.
‘Acknowledges the importance of the sector’
“The creation of the council acknowledges the importance of the sector to both national security and economic growth and will allow us to unlock our very significant productivity potential and secure our position as a global leader in safe, sustainable, and high-quality food and drink.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the Industrial Strategy proved that the government was forward thinking. It welcomed the recognition that success would require partnership with businesses.
Commenting on the Strategy, CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “The hard work starts now. Today’s announcement must be the beginning of a strategic race, not a tactical sprint.
“And it needs to last. This is a time for consistency and determination, not perpetual change with the political winds. The creation of an independent council with teeth to monitor progress will help this.”
Take action on the strategy quickly
The CBI urged the government to take action on the strategy quickly, so that all regions and nations have successful industrial strategies that are supported and not harmed by Brexit.
Meanwhile, Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said the introduction of a new Industrial Strategy was key to supporting efforts to improve productivity and invest in both current industries and those of the future.
“The white paper acts as a good foundation for a new partnership with industry where government and business can ensure consistency in policy thinking and implementation to ensure the UK is world leader in these new technologies,” said Scuoler.
“And by introducing independent scrutiny of the progress of these plans, the government is signalling that there will be a strong focus on measuring delivery which boardrooms will recognise and welcome.”