At a time of a national emergency, British Poultry Council, which represents poultry processors, has called on the Government to consider measures to cushion the food supply chain from the impact of coronavirus.
British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths, said: “Everyone in the poultry meat supply chain is working hard to keep the country fed and we’re asking the Government to support them while they continue doing this vital job. From farmers and vets who look after our birds, through butchers and engineers who keep our factories working, to drivers and distributors who get food to the shelves, it’s essential that food production is prioritised during this difficult time.
“We want to work closely with the Government in the coming days and months to consider measures to mitigate any impact on national food security and offset the risk of a supply chain disruption. In the last few days, we have seen the Government express its ‘confidence in the UK food supply chains’ and talk about ‘ensuring farm to food supplies’ for this country. Now is the time to put some of these promises into practice.
“We are delighted to hear the Treasury’s commitment ‘to do everything it can’ to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the productive capacity of the economy and preserve employment capabilities for those who are healthy. The Government must recognise food as a special case and treat it as a national security issue.
“We urge the Government to recognise the role of those working in the food supply chain and extend the business rate holiday to them. We would also like to see introduction of tax breaks for parts of the supply chain that may face financial distress.
“It’s reassuring to see the Government’s recent steps for schools to look after children of key workers, such as NHS staff, while schools remain closed. We are calling on the Government to extend these provisions for children of those working in the food supply as they play a critical role in feeding this nation and ensuring food security.”