Good Food Nation

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th January 2018.

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Photo of Gail Ross Gail Ross Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made towards Scotland becoming a good food nation. (S5O-01695)

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Our plans for Scotland to become a good food nation are continuing. The Scottish Food Commission recently submitted its recommendations for the proposed good food nation bill, and they are currently being considered across the Scottish Government with a view to a consultation being held this year. The consultation will inform the content of a good food nation bill that will be introduced during this parliamentary session.

Photo of Gail Ross Gail Ross Scottish National Party

I stated recently in the chamber that that piece of legislation has the potential to be one of the most exciting and important bills that the Parliament will pass in this session. Given the number of sectors that the bill will cover and the amount of interest that there is likely to be in it, how long will the consultation process last, when will it commence and how will we make sure that everyone—not just stakeholders and industry experts—gets a chance to respond?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

The consultation will be launched later this year and will be open for 12 weeks. We are investigating ways to inform the public about it. The legislation will be slightly different from the norm, and I aim to get the maximum involvement, as Gail Ross has rightly suggested. We fully recognise the importance of involving as many people as possible in the promotion of Scotland as a good food nation.

Photo of Edward Mountain Edward Mountain Conservative

Given that funding for the food and drink strategy has remained unchanged at £5 million a year since 2014, will funding to support the proposed good food nation bill come from that allocation or will separate funds be found?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

I am sorry that the Tories have introduced that monetary note. The promotion of Scotland as a good food nation will be about how we carry and promote ourselves and about promoting good nutrition, attracting more people to Scotland to enjoy the high quality of our natural larder and encouraging young people to learn how to prepare food. It will not be all about money.

I hope that, at some point, the Conservatives will get that.