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27 May 2019
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The UK food industry has urged Michael Gove to table food policy changes post-Brexit, writes Herpreet Kaur Grewal.

Michael Gove ©Shutterstock

04 March 2019 Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Representatives of 32 industry bodies including the UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation, stated: “At this moment of potential crisis in our industry, it cannot be ‘business as usual’ within government.” Some of the trade bodies said they might not participate in future policy consultations if the government ignores 

their concerns. 

The letter to Gove said: “Businesses throughout the UK food chain… are now totally focused on working to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit... Large amounts of time, money, people and effort are being diverted to that end.”

The representatives said this work was so overwhelming that the businesses and trade bodies in the sector have not had time to focus on non-Brexit policies that Whitehall is considering. 

The letter cites policy initiatives on which the government is soliciting industry feedback that could have a significant impact on the food industry including a plan, announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in last year’s Budget, to introduce a new tax on packaging that doesn’t include at least 30 per cent recycled content. Another plan concerns potential restrictions on the advertising of fatty and sugary foods.    

Resources & Waste Strategy

Extra time 

As Facilitate went to press, Defra issued a statement saying the government “remains committed to supporting our food and drink industry to help prepare for all scenarios and are grateful for industry’s ongoing engagement and support”.

The government says it has taken steps “to allow businesses to focus on preparations for EU exit” and ensured “our consultations related to the Resources and Waste Strategy end in May rather than April – giving businesses longer to respond – and we are committed to a more flexible consultation process where stakeholders can give their views verbally”.

It also said: “We will continue to review ongoing consultations, including those where deadlines can be extended, in light of developments as the UK leaves the EU.”


Emma Potter