Wednesday 15 September 2021 / 12:05 PM Daniel Zeichner / Environment / Farming

Labour calls for public bodies to buy British food on Back British Farming Day

Labour has today, on Back British Farming Day, called for public bodies to buy more British food all year round – part of the Party’s campaign to buy, make and sell more across Britain.

The next Labour Government will ask every public body to give more contracts to British firms, and also pass legislation requiring them to report on how much they are buying from domestic sources with taxpayers’ money. This will include British farmers and food producers.

The National Audit Office, in a report released today (the 15th), finds Ministers are failing to gain farmers’ trust. Labour Party analysis has found rural England stands to lose more than £255 million this year alone as a result of the Conservatives cutting grants to farmers, risking as many as 9,500 agricultural jobs. The NAO has said farmers are proving very reluctant to take up the new schemes and Ministers have not yet even set agreed objectives for them.

The sector also continues to struggle with worker shortages and supply chain issues of the Conservatives’ making, all while being undermined in trade deals that risk undercutting on animal welfare and environmental standards by the world’s biggest agricultural corporations.

With public bodies estimated to spend over £2 billion a year procuring food, the Government could do more to ensure British farmers benefit, but it isn’t.

Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour’s Acting Shadow Environment Secretary, said:

“The Conservatives are letting farming down with a triple betrayal – pursuing trade deals at their expense, failing to resolve worker shortages and supply chain issues, and cutting payments while making a mess of delivering their new environmental support.

“Labour would support British farmers and food producers, legislating to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely by public bodies in supporting them and their great food.”