The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has written to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as part of its inquiry into COVID-19 and food supply.
Following discussions with officials, the cross-party Select Committee asks for further information, including on:
* Government action to protect food suppliers adversely affected as a result of decreased demand in the foodservice sector and steps to enable takeaway and restaurant businesses to re-open whilst adhering to public safety advice.
* Efforts to recruit UK nationals for seasonal agricultural labour, including success to date. The Committee also asks about measures taken to ensure that seasonal workers still arriving from overseas are appropriately tested.
* The number of people having trouble accessing healthy food as a result of the pandemic. The Committee is calling for further support to be provided to support the redistribution of surplus food to food charities.
Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, said: “From our discussions with Ministers and officials in recent weeks, it’s clear that the Government is working incredibly hard and we welcome the action it has taken. But I am concerned that we will see long term damage to our ability to produce high quality food in the UK, and many more people at risk of going hungry. One immediate step would be greater support to help charities redistribute surplus food meant for closed cafes and restaurants to the people who need it most. We will be taking further evidence on this next month.”