Tory led government cannot ignore rising food prices
The latest OECD figures has shown that food inflation is rising three times as fast in the UK compared to other countries: 6.3 per cent compared to an average of 2.1 per cent for the G7 countries and 2.8 per cent for the EU.
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, responded to the latest figures on Wednesday 9 March.
She said “The Tory-led Government is failing to get a grip with the impact of rising food prices on family budgets. At a time of rising living costs and squeezed family incomes the Conservative-led Government has no strategic response to the food challenges the country faces. The latest OECD figures show food prices in the UK rising three times as fast as the G7 average providing more evidence about the impact of food costs on families already feeling the strain from the VAT increase, inflation and petrol price hike.
”In 2010, Labour published the first government food strategy for 60 years to deal with rising costs and food security. The Tory-led Government have failed to bring forward any plans to deal with rising food prices or problems being faced by UK farmers.”
Senior HSBC economist Karen Ward speaking on Sky News gave a warning about the impact of rising food prices in the UK. She told Sky News "Even in the developed world I think we have very, very low wage growth, so people aren't getting more in their pay packet to compensate them for food and energy, and I think we could see social unrest certainly in parts of the developed world and the UK as well.”
The Government’s new sustainable development strategy launched on 28 February and does not mention food or food production at all. It has been criticised by the National Farmers’ Union for failing to understand food and farming issues.
In January 2010, the Labour produced Food 2030 the first Government food strategy for 60 years. Since the election, the Tory-led Government have failed to produce a response on food.
Labour is calling on the Government to bring forward plans for a Supermarket Ombudsman to adjudicate on prices between the food producers and the major retailers. The Ombudsman was developed by Labour in Government and included in both the Lib Dem and Conservative manifestoes – but to date they have not made any progress.