Food Supply and Security - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:04 pm on 14th May 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Meacher Baroness Meacher Crossbench 2:04 pm, 14th May 2020

My Lords, I warmly welcome this debate tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott—a true champion of sustainable and affordable food production. I have just two points.

One is the need to create a positive out of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all woken up to the delights of clean air, almost no aeroplanes and few cars. One way is to reduce food imports and to grow more food locally. As the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, pointed out, at present the UK supplies only about 53% of the food we consume. This means that 47%—in particular fruit, vegetables and meat—comes on planes and ships from overseas. We would surely all welcome a policy to drive down our dependence on food from across the world, but this means all of us being willing to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables and less meat. If ever we are to make such a shift, surely now is the time when people will be willing to do it. Do the Government plan to provide incentives to achieve that sort of change at this strategic moment?

My other point, closely related, is a plea that the wonderful Capital Growth programme of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, growing food in London, be extended to the rest of the country. Again, if ever there was the right time to do that, it is surely now.