Call for party leaders to protect UK food security

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Party leaders are being urged by the UK food and drink supply chain to ensure policies on food security are front and centre of their public campaigns.

This includes how they intend to support domestic food and farming sectors, and how they will work to ensure resilient supply chains.

The NFU, British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation have come together to express frustration at the lack of coverage so far on how the next government will approach the issue.

In a letter to party leaders, the organisations say this omission in election campaigns needs to be urgently addressed before polling day on 4 July.

While the letter states that the UK food system has been “efficient and resilient” over the past few years, they say it would be “foolhardy” to assume this will always be the case.

They write: “The basic responsibility of any government is to ensure its citizens are safe and properly fed. 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.”

They continue by saying that getting food security right has broader implications, creating an “engine for economic growth” across the UK and helping to manage natural environment.

Arguments that a well-functioning supply chain gives consumers to improve diets and alleviate pressure on the health service were also put forwards.

The letter sets out six priorities for the next government. These include:

  • A planning system for modern buildings and infrastructure
  • Working with the sector to deliver a net-zero plan
  • An industrial policy with a tax framework pushing investment, fosters research, and takes a “joined-up” approach to immigration, skills and employment policies
  • An agricultural budget focused on biodiversity objectives
  • An approach to trade that reduces non-tariff barriers with key partners
  • A long-term industry partnership to tackle health inequalities.

It concludes by saying that these policies are “critical” to the future health and prosperity of the UK, and that should food security should not be taken for granted.

The NFU election manifesto can be viewed here.

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