The fallout from the General Election has likely only just begun, with political jockeying steadily building to a frantic level. The headline issues of Brexit, health, education, and defence remain in-play, but that means little or no consideration given to issues such as how we’re going to feed the nation.
A hard Brexit is still possible, but a softer version is also emerging. If some element of compromise is possible on trade and access to labour, then it will certainly help the UK poultry meat sector. Despite a crowded media and political landscape, now is the time when we must be vocal and clear about what we need and what we can offer.
Poultry meat is about food security, it’s about job security, and it’s about national security. One of the first responsibilities of any Government is ensure its population has sufficient food. It cannot be left to chance or the vagaries of other nations, and the UK must step up.
The good news is that we have great food and farming in this country, and poultry meat producers are among the few who can quickly increase production to improve our self-sufficiency. The danger is that once we lose our food production capacity, it will be very difficult to get it back. That is why we need the commitments and support sooner rather than later. UK poultry meat doesn’t need a hand-out, and we’re not part of any subsidy payments, but we do need the right environment in which our businesses can thrive.
The Government, of whatever leaning, can support and give confidence to poultry meat sector. It can set the example that British businesses are worth backing and produce quality food for the nation. Now is the time when Government can set commitments in public procurement to buy British food. It’s a small price that could lay the foundation for confident and sustainable UK food.