Food Supply and Security - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:44 pm on 14th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Labour 2:44 pm, 14th May 2020

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, for such an all-embracing and spirited introduction to this debate. I greatly sympathise with the Minister’s having to endeavour to reply to all the contributions that have been made. I declare an interest as patron of Sugarwise, a charity committed to reducing sugar in food and drinks and encouraging manufacturers to produce healthy foods within the World Health Organization’s sugar guidelines.

The noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, raised obesity, diabetes and hypertension as issues that have been brought to the forefront as underlying causes of Covid-19 deaths. When we come out of this, we must return to the inadequacy of policies linked to obesity and diabetes and seek ways in which we can strengthen them and encourage our population to move away from what is causing those difficulties.

Much of it comes back to what we eat and drink. A major factor there, which only reluctantly have the Government moved towards addressing, is sugar. I am grateful that they eventually introduced the sugar tax, recognising that there was a significant problem, particularly as it affects children through fizzy drinks. But it affects the whole population, and we need a review to look in a wider way than we have ever done before and address the problems that arise from sugar consumption. My question is a simple one: will the Government review their attitude to sugar and recognise that it is a major factor causing significant problems? Many people would not have died had they not suffered from diabetes and obesity, which come from eating sugar over their lifetimes.