Posted: 25/11/2020

View from HQ: Speak up now to influence food policy

We’re currently being beckoned to have our say. I know…I know, when we do no-one listens because we’re small businesses at the micro end of food and drink and only big business really matters to those in charge. Let’s change this, writes John Farrand

View from HQ: Speak up now to influence food policy

I spoke up at the wrong meeting and pointed out to Defra that they were not talking to the entire food & drink trade. The various committees and steering groups were full of big players with big budgets and advisory teams. Something none of us has. To their credit, they engaged with me and have challenged the Guild and the newly formed Food from England to round up on the gripes, moans and concerns that are vexing us. 

So, I need to hear from you. Tell me what’s keeping you awake at night and what, quite frankly, you are shit scared of. By doing this you are bringing a new perspective to the policy departments of the government and nudging them that our concerns count. 

We’ve only got a few weeks to influence policy and I need to stimulate thought. Here are my thoughts on the issues:

HFSS (High in fat, sugar and salt) online advertising ban – there is a problem in the type of food and drink that this legislation affects. We should be educating in moderation, not blanket persecuting certain foods that need these ingredients to be enjoyed. There’s a six-week consultation which closes on 22nd December.

Brexit – sort of forgotten about it, haven’t we? Import and export paperwork will be easier for the larger companies who may be entitled to known shipper status. We need more help to navigate the bureaucracy. 

National Food Strategy – do you know enough about the initiative? 

COVID & the economy – Lockdown two, three, four? What’s it doing to our high streets? Are you getting enough help? Rent moratorium on 31 December – can you keep your property? 

My inbox and post box are now open, or fill out the Guild’s simple survey here. Shoot from the hip, shoot the breeze, shoot off. Come on, so much is playing on your mind.

Read the latest edition of Fine Food Digest here.

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