Government support for UK food sector is 'a strategic priority': FDF

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food sector Food Industry Food and drink federation

The next UK government must recognize that the food sector is “a strategic priority” by delivering greater “cohesion, clarity and consistency,” in policy-making, said the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Its director of communications Julien Hunt told “We need to see​ (from the next government) a vision and strategy for farming and food production across the whole of the UK​.”

That vision from government must be accompanied by support for the food sector in the form of a new approach that delivers “…cohension, clarity and consistency in policy-making​,” he added.

National security

This will be vital to safeguard the sectors’ contribution to the national security and the economy, he said.

Although the UK does not need 100 per cent food and drink self sufficiency, “…we do need a resilient food supply industry within the UK​.” said Hunt. “That is needed to safeguard threats to our food supply from climate change, higher global food consumption particularly in China and India and pressure on finite resources such as oil​.”

Food and drink also makes a vital contribution to the UK economy accounting for 15 per cent of the total manufacturing output and directly employing about 440,000 people, according to FDF. About 7000 manufacturing businesses in the food and drink sector generate turnover of ₤72.8bn.

To help safeguard the farming and food industries’ contribution to national security and the economy, FDF this week published a checklist of 20 ways government can support the food and drink sector. Those included recommendations on creating a vision for food, supporting green, cutting red tape, supporting manufacturers and protecting innovation.

Economically important

Speaking at a fringe event during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester organized by FDF with the National Farmers Union and the British Retail Consortium, FDF’s director general Melanie Leech said: “Our checklist sets out the ways in which we think the next government should support an economically important, high value manufacturing sector.”

All our ideas are easy to implement and should be cost neutral for taxpayers. But we believe they will help to safeguard the future success of the UK’s biggest manufacturing industry – a sector that has an excellent track record of generating wealth for the nation, providing employment opportunities nationally and responding responsibly to societal concerns about diet, health and the environment​.”

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