Manufacturing Industries

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 27th April 2020.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK is not dependent on the supply of (a) foodstuffs, (b) medicines and (c) other essential goods from other countries after the resolution of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government is working around the clock to support UK manufacturers to continue producing essential goods and products. Industry has risen to the challenge, working with UK suppliers to produce ventilators and other vital equipment.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to help with business continuity and to give manufacturers and their suppliers the support they need to ensure they can get back up and running after the Covid-19 crisis. These measures include:

- £330 billion of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support UK businesses.

- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses to access vital financial support.

- Our new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to allow more firms to benefit from Government-backed support during this difficult time.

- Deferring VAT payments for firms until the end of June 2020, which represents a £30 billion injection into the economy.

- Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a Government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month, backdated to 1 March 2020 and available for at least three months.

Our high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including our strong domestic production and imports from a range of stable sources around the world. It is important that we have access to a diverse range of supply through international trade for consumer choice. It is also vital that we supplement domestic production and ensure that any disruption from adverse weather or disease does not affect our overall security of supply.

There are over 14,000 medicines currently licensed for use and marketed in the UK. Whilst some of these are manufactured in the UK, most are manufactured abroad. Where medicines are manufactured here, the active ingredients and excipients for those medicines may be manufactured abroad. It is not possible to manufacture every medicine and the active ingredients and excipients needed for these medicines here in the UK

The production of medicines is complex and highly regulated, and materials and processes must meet rigorous safety and quality standards. However, the Department of Health and Social Care has established robust procedures to deal with any medicine shortages and there is a team within that Department which helps prevent shortages.

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