Food and Drink Sector: South-west

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th June 2018.

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Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall 12:00 am, 12th June 2018

What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of business investment in the food and drink sector in the south-west.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Food and drink grown and made in Cornwall is exported and enjoyed around the world. My hon. Friend, both as chairman of the all-party group on dairy and as North Cornwall’s MP, will welcome the £75 million investment by Dairy Crest in its Davidstow creamery, announced two weeks ago, to expand its cheese production by nearly 50%. We are working closely with the industry to ensure that companies continue to invest and grow, right across the UK.

Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that answer, and I do welcome Dairy Crest’s recent announcement. The food and drink sector is flourishing right across the south-west, particularly in North Cornwall. We have some fantastic brands, including Tarquin’s Gin, Kernow Chocolate, Sharp’s brewery and Buttermilk fudge, to name but a few. Many of these small and medium-sized firms are looking to export for the first time. What discussions is his Department having with the Department for International Trade in order to expand some of these opportunities for those firms?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

We know that there is huge demand for these products. For example, one reason behind the expansion of the creamery is the increasing appetite in China for cheese produced in Cornwall. My hon. Friend mentioned Sharp’s brewery, and the investment in the facility at Rock now means that 340,000 pints of Doom Bar a day can be produced there. I hope some of those will leave these shores and be enjoyed around the world.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Controversially, Britain’s earliest pasty recipe comes from Plymouth rather than Cornwall. It dates from 1510 and was found in Plymouth borough’s accounts. Pasties are a key part of both Plymouth and Cornwall’s identity. What discussions has the Minister had to ensure that the name “Cornish pasties” is protected after we leave the EU, preventing anyone else around the world from forging pasties, be they Cornish or from Plymouth?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Anyone who has enjoyed pasties in Cornwall or, dare I say, Plymouth will attest to their unique qualities. We have products across the United Kingdom that are associated with the places where they are manufactured. It is an association of quality, and we will ensure that they continue to be protected as part of our negotiations.