The Government yesterday announced its commitment to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food through a new, simplified food and drink buying standard from 2017.
A jointly-issued statement from the Prime Minister David Cameron and Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, anticipates that the new Plan for Public Procurement will benefit thousands of British farmers, small businesses, rural economies and the British public.
According to Government figures, the public sector spends £1.2 billion every year on food and drink. Up to £600 million of that is spent on imported produce, £400 million of which could be sourced from within the UK. The commitment from central Government to use this new buying standard means that just over half of the £400 million will be up for grabs by British farmers. Meanwhile the wider public sector will be encouraged and supported in using the new framework with the expectation that all schools and hospitals will, in future, serve more locally reared meats and freshly picked fruit and vegetables.
Said John Dyson, Food & Technical Director for the British Hospitality Association: “The British Hospitality Association is a consistent advocate of local supply chains across the hospitality and tourism industry. Our view and approach has always been to encourage food service businesses to purchase food from smaller local businesses. This is demonstrated by our involvement with SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval Scheme) which provides assurance of food safety in small businesses and is supported by BHA members .
“We therefore welcome the Government’s commitment to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food through a simplified food and drink buying standard from 2017.”
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