Thank you for your enquiry following the oral hearing of the House of Lords Special Inquiry Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment on 11 June. I understand that following the hearing, you contacted Lord Gardiner and Lord Goldsmith to raise questions about the National Food Strategy so that you could incorporate a response from Defra Ministers into your report. I am replying as the Minister responsible for this policy area.
Firstly you asked what mechanism there will be for interdepartmental coordination of the delivery of Henry Dimbleby’s Food Strategy; and secondly, whether there is a case for an independent body, analogous to the Committee on Climate Change, to advise the Government and report to Parliament on progress in delivery of the strategy.
To respond, I confirm that Henry Dimbleby, Defra’s lead Non-Executive Director, is leading an Independent Review to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy that will address challenges such as food security, health, climate change, and the transformation of the food system. Although Defra has lead responsibility for food, many Departments right across Government have a very strong interest; and as such, Henry and his team are engaging across Whitehall, as well as with partners across the whole food system, including academics, farmers, businesses, civil society and the general public, to develop their recommendations.
Government will respond to the Independent Review’s recommendations when they have been submitted, including what interdepartmental and/or independent structures may be needed to support the strategy’s delivery and monitor progress; the intention is that this will be in the form of a White Paper to be published within 6 months of the release of Henry Dimbleby’s final report.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us about this important issue.
VICTORIA PRENTIS MP
17 June 2020