Farron calls for public bodies to buy British
Government departments and public bodies such as hospitals should be buying more British food to ensure that animal welfare concerns are built into their procurement policies according to Liberal Democrat Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron MP.
The public sector spends approximately £2 billion every year on food procurement, providing over one billion meals for government departments, schools, prisons and hospitals. Despite this, Government departments spent more than £600m on foreign food last year, with nearly a third of all of the food it purchased coming from abroad.
Speaking today during a debate in Parliament, Mr Farron called on the government to introduce a code of conduct across all government departments and the wider public sector for procurement that would ensure that food is sourced locally, from within the UK and from producers that comply with the highest animal welfare standards.
If Mr Farron's proposal is accepted, then tax-payer funded bodies such as national parks, tax offices, hospitals and military barracks would only buy food that is ethically produced, with the majority of that food being sourced locally.
Commenting Mr Farron said:
"Our animal welfare standards are the best in world. As a consequence of these high standards, many shoppers 'buy British' as a reliable proxy for shopping ethically.
"But ensuring strict animal welfare standards across the EU is hard because not every member of the Union places the same value on animal welfare as we do.
"The Government say that they back those standards, but when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, they fall well short.
"How we spend the £2billion of taxpayers' money that goes on food each year, is an immensely important issue. What better way to reward and encourage them than by ensuring that we use taxpayers' money to buy British produce?
"Not only does buying British reduce food-miles while supporting local farmers, it also rewards those producers who put animal welfare at the heart of everything they do."