Ending Exploitation in Supermarket Supply Chains

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:52 pm on 18th October 2018.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 1:52 pm, 18th October 2018

I will be brief. I thank the Minister for her response. She covered most of the points that were raised and I am sure she will go away and check whether there are any other points to which she could respond in writing. I have sometimes seen Ministers come along to the House and read from a piece of paper, showing no sign of having listened to the debate that they have just heard, so I thank her for not taking that approach and for giving a thoughtful and considered response.

I also thank everyone else who has contributed. As people have said, there might not have been a huge number of speakers, but everyone who contributed spoke with great passion and clearly felt very strongly about the issue. I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to speak at far more length than I am usually able to in this place, in that we often end up being called when a seven or six-minute limit has become a three-minute limit.

The food sector is a particular problem because of some issues that have been outlined today, and I urge the Minister to speak to her colleagues, particularly those in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who are responsible for the supermarket sector. We need to discuss this not just in the context of modern slavery and trafficking issues in general, but with a specific focus on how the food sector operates and how that gives rise to some of the horrific abuses we heard of today. I would be grateful if she did that.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
is concerned about the practice of modern slavery and the exploitation of labour in the supply chains of supermarkets in the UK;
notes this week marks world food day and anti-slavery day;
recognises the global leadership that the Government has shown in tackling modern slavery in supply chains in the Modern Slavery Act 2015;
and calls on the Government to help ensure that steps are taken to protect the workers and farmers who produce food.