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The General Election, to be held on December 12th 2019, will set government priorities for the next five years, with huge implications for the future of the UK’s food, farming and fishing.

In compiling this table of party commitments we have tried as far as possible to use the wording as stated in the manifestos, but on occasion have had to summarise. Please let us know if there are any omissions. Commentary from Sustain is summarised here; views of our expert members feature in separate news items. Below, we have reported on the main political parties - for further news on policy commitments relevant to Scotland, visit our sister network, Nourish Scotland. The Brexit party manifesto says little on food and farming, but can be found here.

Alignment with elements of the Sustain Manifesto for a Better Food Britain does not imply Sustain's endorsement for any particular political party or candidate. We ask all parties and candidates to consider how they can best help to achieve a healthy, fair, humane and sustainable system for food, farming and fishing, for the benefit of everyone. And we expect all political parties to step up courageously and robustly to tackling the severe threats to our food, farming and fishing from the climate and nature emergency.

Sustain's Manifesto for a Better Food Britain 2019
Our manifesto sets out what we want government and policy makers to do, to secure a Better Food Britain.

Brexit

Our ask: Pursue the Brexit agenda in a way that minimises the impact on our food, farmers and fishers

Conservative

Want to pass Brexit withdrawal agreement and exit by end of January 2020.

Green

Want to Remain; believe EU can lead fight against climate change. Want the EU to: reform the Common Agricultural Policy and farm payments; link up national Green New Deals; pool renewable energy resources; harmonise environmental standards; end factory farming and reduce animal transportation times; halt all live animal exports from the UK; support an EU-wide carbon tariff.

Labour

Want to renegotiate with the EU and put a fresh deal to a referendum. Want a customs union and close alignment with the Single Market, with 'dynamic aligment' for environmental standards with the EU's. Want continued participation in EU agencies on issues like environment.

Liberal Democrat

Campaign to Remain.

Plaid Cymru

Campaign to Remain. Want to remain in the customs union and single market.

SNP

Want to remain in the EU.

Sustainable farming

Our ask: Support sustainable farming and food producers

Conservative

Farm subsidies based on 'public money for public goods' in environment and animal welfare. Guarantee the current annual budget for farm subsidies until 2024.

Green

Subsidies for sustainable farming, including organic, agroforestry and mixed farms; Grants for new low carbon machinery; Grants for transitioning to agroecological farming; subsidies for restoring hedgerows; Greater security of farm tenure and encouraging new entrants; Encourage shift away from intensive farming and invest in smaller-scale, more people-focussed food production and land management that respects nature. They also want to prohibit the routine use of antibiotics for farm animals.

Labour

Farming subsidies to support environmental land management and sustainable food production, invest in county farms and increase access for new farming entrants.

Liberal Democrat

Introduce a Nature Act with an £18bn fund over 5 years and targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity. Support the 'public money for public goods' approach, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change.

Plaid Cymru

Support greater transition to organic and other sustainable farming systems.

SNP

Want to extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to root out unfair treatment of farmers.

Net-zero emissions

Our ask: Commit to net-zero emissions from farming and land use, and to restoring nature

Conservative

A new independent Office For Environmental Protection with targets, including for air quality. A £640 million new Nature for Climate (Net Zero) fund. An additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament, as well as restoring our peatland. New National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging.

Green

£100bn Green New Deal to reduce the UK's carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, plant 700 million trees, with focus on those that can produce food. Change planning to encourage 'rewilding' of spaces for wildlife. Moratorium on GM foods, including food from animals fed on GM feed. Encourage new green spaces. Tax on meat and dairy products, reduce the 5% of the UK's carbon emissions that come from livestock, help farmers transition to sustainable farming. Initiatives to reduce food waste, and allow food waste to be used to feed pigs and chickens. Better flood management measures, a public information campaign on biodiversity loss and Climate Emergency. Reduce pesticide and fungicide use by at least 50% by 2022. Protect communities from pesticide spraying; apply the precautionary principle to pesticides.

Labour

Green New Deal to reduce 'majority' of emissions by 2030. £250bn Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration; want to stop off shoring emissions, a Climate Apprenticeship programme, a Clean Air act, targets for restoration of species and habitats, tree planting programme and funding for environment regulators. net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.

Liberal Democrat

Pass a Clean Air Act enforced by a new Air Quality Agency, coordinate the planting of 60 million trees a year and requrire greater use of sustainably harvested wood in construction. Invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland, wetlands etc , Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, completing the coastal path, exploring a 'right to roam' for waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks. Give the Local Green Space designation the force of law. Require all UK companies to set Paris Agreement targets and establish a general corporate duty of care for the environment. Establish UK and local Citizens' Climate Assemblies and make all local authorities produce a Zero Carbon Strategy. Guarantee an independent Office of Environmental Protection with powers and targets. Increase government expenditure on climate and create a new Green Investment Bank and increasing funding for innovation and technology centres on farming and land use and on carbon dioxide removal. End fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and provide funding for areas and communities negatively affected by the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Plaid Cymru

A Green New Deal – combating climate change by becoming 100% self-sufficient in renewable electricity by 2035. Legislation to tackle the extinction crisis, placing a legal obligation on this and future governments to act for the recovery of nature.

SNP

Want the UK to accelerate its action to meet Scotland’s climate change targets of a 75% reduction in emissions by 2035, net zero carbon emissions no later than 2040 and net zero of all emissions by 2045.

Marine and fisheries

Our ask: Restore the marine environment and sustainable fishing livelihoods

Conservative

Leave the Common Fisheries Policy, maintain funding for fisheries across the UK, support the regeneration of coastal communities. A legal commitment to fish sustainably and a legal requirement for a plan to achieve maximum sustainable yield for each stock.

Green

Review the Common Fisheries Policy to improve sustainability. Commit to making at least 30% of UK domestic waters into fully protected marine protected areas by 2030 and increase the 'blue belt' protecting British Overseas Territories' waters from commercial extraction.

Labour

Set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and (if people vote to leave the EU) require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.

Liberal Democrat

Establish a 'blue belt' of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of UK waters by 2030. Introduce sustainable fisheries policy, rebuild depleted fish stocks and have a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system. Flexible immigration policy to ensure catching and processing sectors have access to labour.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru supports a strong UN Global Ocean Treaty capable of creating a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least 30% of oceans by 2030. This should involve an immediate moratorium on deep sea mining.

SNP

Want to help the Scottish fishing industry 'grow sustainably'.

Local food economy

Our ask: Cultivate a sustainable local food economy and jobs

Conservative

Increase the annual quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme from 2,500 to 10,000.

Green

Localise food systems and put control over the resources to produce, distribute and access food in the hands of communities and workers. Encourage urban food growing, including new community farms and allotments, through the planning system, and matching garden owners with those who want to grow for communal benefit.

Labour

Support local food networks, expand access to farm holdings and re-establish an Agricultural Wages Board in England.

Liberal Democrat

No evidence of a policy on this from Liberal Democrat.

Plaid Cymru

Specify more pro-active public procurement policies to support local producers.

SNP

No evidence of a policy on this from SNP.

Ending hunger

Our ask: Commit to ending hunger and guarantee everyone’s right to food

Conservative

No evidence of a policy on this from Conservative.

Green

Legislate for a right to food, and create new providers to supply this food at an affordable price to schools.

Labour

Introduce a 'Right to Food', halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them in three years. Review the Allotments Act. Make food security a reason to intervene in the economy and work with local councils to minimise food waste. Introduce free school meals for all primary school children.

Liberal Democrat

Establish a Right to Food.

Plaid Cymru

Commit to lifting 50k children out of poverty.

SNP

They will press for a new right to food for all SNP and want the UK gov to introduce a benefit that will reduce child poverty, re-establish UK-wide child poverty targets and establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Children's food

Our ask: Champion children’s food and health

Conservative

Maintain their commitment to free school meals.

Green

Promote children's access to healthy food and tackle childhood obesity, including updating the School Food Standards and renaming 'Free School Meals' the 'School Meals Allowance' to tackle stigma.

Labour

Introduce free school meals for all primary school children. Want to extend the sugar tax to milk drinks, ban fast-food restaurants near schools and enforce stricter rules around the advertising of junk food and levels of salt in food. Invest £1 bn in public health and recruit 4,500 more health visitors and school nurses.

Liberal Democrat

Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity including restricting the marketing of junk food to children, Close loopholes in the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, extending it to juice- and milk-based drinks that are high in added sugar. Extend free school meals to all primary children and to all secondary children whose families receive UC, as well as promoting school breakfast clubs.

Plaid Cymru

No evidence of a policy on this from Plaid Cymru.

SNP

No evidence of a policy on this from SNP.

Public sector food

Our ask: Require all government and public sector food to be healthy and sustainable

Conservative

Want to 'improve' hospital food and want to encourage the public sector to 'Buy British' to support farmers and reduce environmental costs. Maintain their commitment to free school meals.

Green

Commitment to update the School Food Standards. Update the School Food Standards and rename 'Free School Meals' the 'School Meals Allowance' to tackle stigma.

Labour

Free school meals for all primary school children.

Liberal Democrat

The national food strategy should include the use of public procurement policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food and cut down on food waste.

Plaid Cymru

Specify more pro-active public procurement policies to support local producers.

SNP

Will press for all relevant UK gov departments and agencies to achieve the Food for Life catering award and to purchase more Scottish food produced to current farm assurance standards.

Food safety

Our ask: Require food safety, standards and clear labelling

Conservative

Say British farmers and fishermen should be able to profit by producing high quality and high production standard food and fish and say they will 'not compromise' UK's environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards in trade negotiations.

Green

Promote the benefits of healthy diets, based on locally and sustainably produced food, and 'less but better' meat and dairy, including clear labelling to indicate carbon emissions, high animal welfare and intensive production methods. Complete ban on cages, close confinement and deliberate mutilation of farm animals.

Labour

No evidence of a policy on this from Labour.

Liberal Democrat

Require labelling for food products and publication of information on calorie, fat, sugar and salt content in restaurants and takeaways. Restrict how products high in fat, salt and sugar are marketed and advertised by multiple retailers. Improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture, including a ban on caged hens, and promote the responsible use of antimicrobials.

Plaid Cymru

Want future trade policy to uphold environmental protections and want deals that will not weaken standards and rules on food safety. They want full powers over food labelling. They want to secure geographical indications for key Welsh food in future trade deals.

SNP

Will support Scottish government in maintaining EU regulations on animal and plant health and environmental and food safety.

Governance

Our ask: Ensure good food governance

Conservative

Commitment to their National Food Strategy.

Green

A new Food and Agriculture Research Council to research sustainable and health-promoting methods of food production and distribution. Research the reduction of livestock methane and soil conservation.

Labour

Want a National Food Commission.

Liberal Democrat

Introduce a National Food Strategy, broaden the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and increase the budget for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ensuring that agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency are properly funded. Establish a Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources.

Plaid Cymru

Want to create a "stronger" domestic food market, with more processing, supported by public procurement policies.

SNP

No evidence of a policy on this from SNP.

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Sustain's Manifesto for a Better Food Britain 2019
Our manifesto sets out what we want government and policy makers to do, to secure a Better Food Britain.

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