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Supermarkets: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions the Government has had with major supermarkets on limiting or rationing items during the outbreak of covid-19.

Photo of Ellie Reeves Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance he has issued to businesses on preventing members of the public from stockpiling (a) food and (b) other essential products.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure supermarkets do not run out of food as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help reduce stockpiling from supermarkets by the general public in response to covid-19.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of stockpiling from supermarkets by the general public on the ability of supermarkets to maintain stocks during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to any changes in demands, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

The Secretary of State is in regular dialogue with industry, including the British Retail Consortium and supermarket chief executives to discuss any additional support the Government can provide. To help supermarkets respond to this unprecedented demand we have already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up quicker, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours.

We fully recognise the additional pressures on our food supply chain as a result of recent events. The UK’s major supermarkets have last weekend issued a statement to encourage everyone to shop as they normally would and pull together to support those staying at home.

We will continue to work closely with the industry over the coming days and months.

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