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Chair to lead debate on COVID-19 and food supply

3 November 2020

Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, will lead a Westminster Hall debate to discuss the findings of a Committee report on the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on food supply.

As a second lockdown is imposed across England, MPs will debate the key recommendations arising from the Committee’s inquiry into Food Supply and COVID 19 and the lessons to be learned from the first lockdown. The findings were the result of evidence gathered throughout spring and early summer. Recommendations from the report, published in July, included:

  • Responding to the large increase in families facing food insecurity and using foodbanks the Government should appoint a new Minister for Food Security to work across different departments, and look into giving a 'Right to Food' legislative footing.
  • The Government should extend its support for efforts by charities to redistribute food that would otherwise be wasted on farms and in the supply chain, tackling hunger whilst driving down food waste.
  • The need to set out and implement a clear strategy to support the hospitality sector and the many small and medium sized food business that supply pubs and restaurants, particularly in light of a second lockdown.
  • Given the fragilities exposed by shortages in the shops in February and March the Government should urgently review the resilience of the UK's reliance on a just-in-time supply chain ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st when the disruption to supplies may be much greater.

Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, said:

“As we enter a second lockdown, it is of vital importance that we have learnt the lessons of the first. Our report drew on extensive evidence to identify a number of lessons for the Government, food industry and retailers. The UK needs cross-government leadership on tackling food insecurity so fewer families need to rely on food banks, especially as economic hardship worsens. While it is welcome that pubs and restaurants remain open for takeaway, we must remain realistic about the effect of this new lockdown, and the many great British food and drink makers who supply this sector must be supported.”

Further information

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