News / Good Food for Our Money Campaign

Charity pays for better fish served to Cameron and his millionaire Cabinet

Members of staff at Sustain send cheques for 83p to the Prime Minister and every member of the Cabinet to ensure that, while at work, Ministers eat fish that is from the very best sustainable sources.

Charity workers have today sent 29 cheques for 83p each to the Prime Minister and every member of the Coalition Government’s Cabinet (which contains 22 millionaires) [1]. The charity workers want to ensure that, while at work, Ministers eat fish that is from the very best sustainable sources [2].This followed the revelation that it would cost – at the most – 83p per head per year for Cabinet members to be served only fish from the best sustainable sources, for their meetings and functions [3].

Under new plans, the Government is proposing to introduce compulsory seafood rules for fish bought in limited parts of the public sector that are controlled by Whitehall, including Government departments and No.10, where Cabinet meetings are held. Despite its claim of being “the greenest government yet”, a draft of the proposals suggest that 4 in every 10 fish affected will come from unsustainable sources that damage fish stocks and the ocean environment.

The Government has come under intense pressure to change the proposals which will be announced before Easter 2011.The Good Food for Our Money Campaign is leading calls for the Government to apply sustainability standards to all seafood bought with taxpayers’ money. The campaign is run by the charity Sustain, and is backed by 60 national organisations, including the Women’s Institute, the Marine Stewardship Council and WWF UK [4].

Alex Jackson, Co-ordinator of the Good Food for Our Money Campaign, said: “We are frankly outraged that the Government might decide to serve unsustainable fish to Cabinet Ministers, especially as they know it would cost so little to improve. In fact, we know of lots of caterers – big and small – who have saved money by switching to less endangered species, so even the paltry 83p per head, per year, is an over-estimate. But just in case Government Ministers think cost is the issue, and in the spirit of the Big Society, we decided to have a whip round to pay for the improvement ourselves”.

The offer by charity workers to pay for the Cabinet’s green fish upgrade follows the revelation that even No. 10’s Larry the Cat is likely to be eating fishy pet food with better sustainability standards than the Prime Minister [5].

The Good Food for Our Money Campaign is tracking each of the 29 cheques sent to the Prime Minister and every member of his Cabinet. To see how each recipient has responded please click here.

Notes to Editor

[1] Following the resignation of David Laws MP, 22 of the 29 members of the Coalition Government cabinet are worth more than £1m. To read more please see article in Daily Mail on 23rd May 2010: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1280554/The-coalition-millionaires-23-29-member-new-cabinet-worth-1m--Lib-Dems-just-wealthy-Tories.html#ixzz1GIxgQJqD

[2] Cheques were made out personally by charity workers employed by Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming. Charitable money was not used for this activity.

[3] This calculation is derived from Government figures published by Defra as part of its assessment of the Government Buying Standards. 83p per year works out as one third of a penny per working day, per Cabinet member, to serve only the best sustainable fish.

[4] For further details of the Good Food for Our Money campaign, see: https://www.sustainweb.org/goodfoodforourmoney/

[5] Leading UK brands of cat food, Whiskas and Sheba, have committed to using 100% sustainable fish, meaning that cat food standards are better than the 60% sustainable fish standard proposed by Government, see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362077/Larry-No-10-cat-shuns-rat-catching-duties-posher-diet-David-Cameron.htm

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Published 17 Mar 2011

Good Food for Our Money Campaign: The Good Food for Our Money campaign ran from 2008 to 2011. After several notable successes, this campaign has now evolved to focus on winning healthy and sustainable food standards for hospital food, in parallel with Sustain's existing work on the Children's Food Campaign to secure healthy and sustainable food standards for school meals.

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