£400m of potential new business for the British food industry has been announced by Prime Minister David Cameron and Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to back British businesses.
The Prime Minister announced that from 2017, all of central government will commit to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food, so that all food that can be bought locally will be bought locally.
This will be done through a new, simplified food and drink buying standard, ‘The Plan for Public Procurement’, which was launched today to benefit thousands of British farmers, small businesses, rural economies and the British public.
The public sector in England spends £1.2bn every year on food and drink. Up to £600m of that is spent on imported produce, £400m of which could be sourced from within the UK. The commitment from central government to use this new buying standard means that just over half of the £400m will be up for grabs by British farmers.
In addition, the wider public sector will be encouraged and supported in using the new framework with the expectation that all schools and hospitals will, in future, serve more locally reared meats and freshly picked fruit and vegetables.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Our long-term economic plan is all about backing the do-ers and the hard-workers – and no one does more or works as hard in Wales and the rest of Britain than our farmers.
“By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in Wales have a healthier lifestyle. It’s a triple win – and will mean a brighter future for our country.”