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Party leaders questioned on lack of food coverage during election campaign

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The letter was written by the NFU, British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation. Credit: Getty / Scott E Barbour
The letter was written by the NFU, British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation. Credit: Getty / Scott E Barbour
A collection of industry bodies have questioned the lack of attention placed on the food and drink sector during the general election campaign.

The NFU, British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation have written to the leaders of each of the major political parties, expressing frustration about the absence of a clear plan to support the F&B industry and calling for the omission to be addressed before polling day on 4 July.

The letter urges the party leaders to ensure policies on food security are front and centre of their public campaigns, to set out how they intend to support domestic food and farming sectors and to detail how they will work to ensure resilient supply chains.

Overall, six priorities were laid out for the next government:

  • A planning system that allows investment in modern buildings and infrastructure
  • Work with the food and drink sector to deliver a plan to achieve our net zero ambitions
  • A coherent industrial policy that includes a tax framework incentivising investment, fosters research and innovation in the UK, takes a joined-up approach to immigration, skills and employment policies that ensure the sector has access to the labour it needs
  • An agricultural budget that enables the delivery of environmental objectives, delivers targets for climate and biodiversity
  • An approach to trade that seeks to reduce non-tariff barriers with key trading partners
  • A long-term partnership with industry to tackle obesity and health inequalities in communities across the UK.

“The basic responsibility of any government is to ensure its citizens are safe and properly fed,”​ the letter reads.

“But while we have heard much about defence and energy security in recent weeks, we have heard very little about food security. The lack of focus on food in the political narrative during the campaigns demonstrates a worrying blind-spot for those that would govern us.”

It goes onto say that a thriving food and drink sector will help boost economic growth and provide varied employment opportunities at all levels, before highlighting the important role the industry must play in the pursuit of net zero.

“We should never take our food security for granted, and whoever forms the next government will need to address these issues as a priority,”​ the letter adds.

“Taken together, these policies can provide the critical ingredient – confidence – that will allow industry to deliver a resilient food system, investing for the future, driving productivity, leading the way in energy efficiency, continuing the journey of protecting and enhancing the environment, and most of all, ensuring that British food remains on our shelves and available for all.”

In other news, Britvic rejected a £3.2bn takeover bid from Carlsberg on 17 June 2024, it has been revealed.

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