Food Supply and Security - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:27 pm on 14th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Labour 2:27 pm, 14th May 2020

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, on her excellent introduction. I wholeheartedly endorse the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, about teaching young people more about food production and about cooking, and the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, about procurement and the need for more local sourcing and procurement rules and regulations. I shall make two points this afternoon. First, I think the last 10 days have shown us how a lack of co-ordination and proper decision-making between central government and the three devolved Governments of the UK can inhibit decision-making at a time of crisis. What progress has been made on setting up proper systems of decision-making involving the devolved Governments in agriculture and the environment, now that powers are being returned from Brussels to the United Kingdom?

Secondly, it is also important that we look at the vital importance of local, decentralised supply chains that would build more resilience into our food system. We also, of course, need to protect ecosystems and biodiversity and to ensure that the economic impacts of recession on households do not make the current situation worse. I believe that the sustainable development goals give us a framework in which the UK, internally as well as externally, can address these issues. What progress has been made on ensuring that the sustainable development goals, which are universal and not just for the developing world, can inform British decision-making in these vital areas and make sure that we have a more resilient and economically productive food system in operation in this country in the future?