Letter emailed to the UK Prime Minister on 25 March 2020
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Run by the food and farming charity Sustain, the Real Bread Campaign has around 900 SME bakery businesses in its network. They are essential in providing skilled, meaningful jobs locally, helping to retain jobs, keep high streets alive and money circulating in local economies, both now and when the nation enters into recovery (in all senses) from this crisis.
The owners of these SMEs, and their many thousands of employees, urgently need the government’s help and assurance on a number of important issues.
Essential food supply SMEs under threat
The Real Bread bakers of Britain welcome your assertion that food is essential and that food shopping is one of the four permitted reasons for people to leave their homes. Already, however, the closure of restaurants, canteens and other eateries has deprived many wholesale bakeries of most, or even all, of their business, while closing cafés and baking schools has cut off essential income streams for many retail bakeries. Those closures were needed to limit the spread of infection, but the bakeries now need your help to stay in business.
While larger, plant bakeries (especially supplying supermarkets) are more likely to survive, and even thrive in, the current situation, microbakeries and other SME bakery businesses are particularly vulnerable and less likely to recover.
Full shelves, empty buses
Collectively, SME bakery businesses are a vital part of the solution to the urgent need to keep Britain fed safely and well. Many are able to keep baking and re-stocking throughout the day, while supermarket shelves stripped bare by panic buyers will remain empty until the next delivery from a distant factory. Only today, the industrial loaf manufacturers highlighted challenges they face in meeting demand and ensuring supply.
Small, local bakeries make bread and other essentials available literally (and, in the case of those offering contactless delivery, actually) on the doorsteps of people in rural, and even some urban, locations that are miles from the nearest supermarket. In the current situation this has the added benefit of helping with essential social-distancing by allowing more people to access food on foot or by bike, thereby avoiding trips on local buses and other public transport that might risk close contact and transmission of infection.
What local bakeries need
The Real Bread Campaign has undertaken a survey of bakery owners in our network and found that the main support and assurances that the Real Bread bakers of Britain need from you most urgently include:
Will you take these actions today so that Real Bread bakeries can be there to help feed Britain today, and still be there to help rebuild our economy when this pandemic is over?
The Real Bread Campaign
Real Bread Campaign
Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.
The Real Bread Campaign urges people to take action now to help ensure that our food shopping...
Looking to score some of the white stuff, or a bit of brown? You’re not alone.
Recent crumbs of news from the world of Real Bread.
What Real Bread bakeries and baking schools are doing to look after their customers, staff and...
Please send us your stories, snaps and suggestions.
Your donation will help support the spread of baking skills and access to real bread.
While the introduction of Free School Meals vouchers was welcomed earlier this week, the new scheme...
Children's Food Campaign, School Food Matters and other organisations have written three times...
Families can now apply for Healthy Start food vouchers without a health professional's...
Grassroots charities can get grants to support vulnerable people through Covid-19, via Community...
As food parcels start to be delivered to 50,000 extremely vulnerable people shielding from...
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA
Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.