The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unveiled the Government’s Spending Review which determines how much each Department has to spend along with other headline economic packages. Did food and farming feature? Read Sustain’s response.
In the build up to the Spending Review Sustain has called for the Treasury to act on a number of measures relating to food and farming.
The highest profile of these is the alliance’s calls for the Spending Review to benefit children’s health. This combined measures championed by Marcus Rashford and the National Food Strategy to extend free school meals, holiday food provision and the Healthy Start voucher scheme, in addition to extending the school fruit and veg schemes and most recently calls to earmark revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy as originally intended when it was set up, to improve children’s health.
Sustain has also called on the Treasury to put good food and farming at the heart of its plans to seed an economic recovery, through targeted investment and supportive policies. This is the subject of Sustain’s forthcoming Annual Conference, 9 December.
Ben Reynolds, Sustain, Deputy CEO, commented:
“The Spending Review did little to spell out specific support for food and farming. As the country’s largest sector employing 1 in 7, and contributing between a third and a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, this was an opportunity to put investment in good food and farming as part of measures to build a green economic recovery.
"The commitments including £1.5billion for a UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and a £4billion levelling up fund for local areas, could provide investment in training and to rebuild local food infrastructure, and do so in a way that is good for jobs and the environment. But much more detail is needed in how, and whether, those working in food and farming can tap into this.”
The Chancellor has claimed that the spending review announced today 'has funded the priorities of the British people' but it seems the 1 million people that called for an end to child food poverty to be a priority have been forgotten. Some welcome announcements have been made already on healthy start vouchers and holiday support into 2021 but further recommendations to protect children, families and individuals living in food insecurity have not made the cut. Charities and community groups will need to continue plugging the gaps left by government and therefore we can only agree with the Chancellor that this budget is 'a work unfinished'.
Barbara Crowther, Children's Food Campaign coordinator, commented:
"It's extremely worrying that this spending review gave no hope for over 1 million children currently excluded from eligibility for Free School Meals. We must all hold Rishi Sunak to his promise to do more to support the most disadvantaged families in the Spring Budget. Meanwhile the Soft Drinks Industry Levy continues to raise much needed revenue for children's health - around £336 million in 2019/20 and this spending must be transparently accounted for. We will immediately seek clarification from the Treasury that this has been properly allocated as part of spending plans."
25 Nov 2020
Children's Food Campaign
Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.
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