local food column

As I am sure you are aware, a General Election will be held on 8th June 2017. This election will set the government’s priorities for the next five years which will have huge implications for a number of topics- including the future of UK food and farming.

Sustain, an alliance of organisations campaigning for better food and farming, recently created a ‘Manifesto for a Better Food Britain’ which highlights what is at stake; lies out the challenges that the next Government will face during its five-year term of office, and explores the key commitments that should be included in the party manifestos. Perhaps most importantly General Election party manifestos must set out plans for the ‘sensible’, transparent and accountable management of the Brexit process, and how this process can be used as an opportunity to move towards a food system that works for both farmers, the environment, animals and people’s health.

Sustain (and LESS) would also like to see party manifestos include the following:

  • A plan for how the UK Government plans to end hunger in the UK, as part of its commitment to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • A discussion of: how the amount of fresh, local, healthy and sustainable food served in the UK’s schools and hospitals be increased, and how will the government ensure that the impact of volatile food prices is lessened for the most vulnerable, to provide a better market for sustainable farmers and fishers.
  • Manifestoes should commit to extending the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect primary producers from unfair trading practices by the major supermarkets
  • A discussion about the introduction of a new Environment Act, as recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee, setting measurable and accountable targets for achieving the current Government’sstated ambition to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.
  • A statement regarding how food labelling will be improved so as to make it easier for us to make healthy and sustainable food choices.
  • Discuss the approach that the next Government will take to the devolution of powers and responsibilities to UK cities, including public health, poverty reduction, action on climate change and sustainable resource use.
  • Manifestoes should contain a commitment to maintain and enhance support for organic farming – to allow for expansion of the UK’s organic production so growing UK demand can be met by UK farmers alongside export growth.
  • Commit to the promotion of important strategies. plans and policies that our whole food system depends on, e.g. the UK’s Pollinator Plans.

To read Sustain’s Manifesto for a Better Food Britain in full, visit www.sustainweb.org/news/apr17_general_election_manifestos/

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