FDF calls on next PM to support UK food and drink manufacturing sector

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

FDF Ceo karen Betts has called for support for the industry
FDF Ceo karen Betts has called for support for the industry

Related tags Drink Supply chain

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has called on the next Prime Minister to ease the cost of living crisis by supporting the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector.

The organisation has sent letters to all those MPs in the running for the top job: Rishi Sunak; Penny Mordaunt; Liz Truss; Tom Tugendhat; and Kemi Badenoch. 

In the letter it said that the country has a brilliant food and drink manufacturing sector with thousands of companies creating economic opportunity right across the UK. 

Lifeblood

“There isn’t a single parliamentary constituency that doesn’t host a food and drink manufacturing site. Our industry employs nearly 500,000 people directly, and many more indirectly through our supply chain. These are good jobs, which are the stepping-stones to great careers for many thousands of people, and they are the lifeblood of so many communities,” ​the letter written by FDF chief executive Karen Betts OBE said. 

“But our industry cannot be taken for granted. Our success is hard won. Our margins are slim and have been relentlessly squeezed by the pandemic and its impacts, and now by the crisis in Ukraine. All our companies are doing everything they can to contain the impacts of inflation. We know we have a responsibility to provide good and affordable food, and we are cutting costs everywhere we can to limit price rises for shoppers.”

However, in the letter to the PM hopefuls it said that these companies must remain viable if they are to be a vibrant part of our economy into the future. It highlighted the tenth consecutive month of food price inflation, the cost of ingredients and energy still rising relentlessly. 

Call to action

The letter said: “With this in mind, there’s more the government must do to support us through the cost of living crisis to help contain price rises for households and to help our sector emerge from the crisis in growth.”

It has called for the new Prime Minister to ease the labour shortages for skilled and unskilled labour and to incentivise manufacturers to boost productivity from automation to digital and advanced technologies. 

On taxation it has called for the Government to create an environment that incentivises businesses to invest in productivity, future growth and the transition to green energy. It has also called for the government to look at VAT, business rates, the reform of R&D tax credits and the Apprenticeship Levy as well as reducing the costs of regulation and redoubling efforts to maintain a functioning UK internal market. 

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