Tories launch local food campaign

28 April 2010

Lindsay Clark | 28 April 2010

The Conservative party will, if elected, mandate that all new contracts for Whitehall departments and their agencies purchase food that meets British standards of production.

The move is part of a campaign focusing on increasing the amount of locally sourced food used by the public sector. However, the party says the conditions will only apply when they can be achieved without increasing overall costs.

The proposals also say local councils and NHS organisations should publish details of the food they buy, so people can hold them to account and demand improvement.

Nick Herbert, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the public sector spent £2 billion a year on food procurement, "so using this sum more wisely would make a huge difference".

"This new transparency requirement will lift the veil on the procurement practices of the public sector and enable people to demand better performance if their school or hospital is not procuring food sustainably," he said.

"More local sourcing is good for the consumer, good for British producers, good for the environment, and can be good for the bottom line as well."

Last year, Liberal Democrat Tim Farron said public sector food spending should be used to ensure sustainability and to combat climate change.

Meanwhile, Labour has said it would use government procurement to support UK employment.

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