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What are the two leading UK political parties pledging for the future of the food industry?

20 April 2015

The food industry rarely comes under scrutiny, and when it does, it's usually for negative reasons. But with the fast approaching UK election taking place in May, what are the two main political parties promising not only the food industry, but also consumers?

The Conservative Party

"Neglected for 13 years under Labour, we have started the process of championing and connecting up the countryside. In the coming years, we will go further, helping our farmers, supporting British food around the world and opening up new export markets."

"We will set out a long-term vision for the future of British farming, working with industry to develop a 25 year plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food. We will allow farmers to smooth their profits for tax purposes over five years, up from the current two years, to counter income volatility. We will treble the number of apprenticeships in food, farming and agri-tech, as part of our plan to secure three million more apprenticeships. We will support a science-led approach on GM crops and pesticides and implement our 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB. We will liberate farmers from red tape by coordinating all visits through a single Farm Inspection Taskforce, which will involve farmers themselves and use data from existing industry schemes, such as Red Tractor. We will push for further reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. We will promote British food abroad by setting up a Great British Food Unit to help trademark and promote local foods around the world and back British food at home, by guaranteeing that all central government departments purchase food to British standards of production by the end of the Parliament. We will also help consumers to buy British by pushing for country of origin labelling in Europe, particularly for dairy products, following on from our success with beef, lamb, pork and poultry. And we will champion our new Groceries Code Adjudicator, so farmers receive a fair deal from the supermarkets."

"The quality of the food on your plate, and the economic security of our farmers, depend on us upholding the highest standards of animal welfare. We will push for high animal welfare standards to be incorporated into international trade agreements and into reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. We will [...] press for all EU member states to ensure that animals are only sent to slaughterhouses that meet high welfare standards [...] We want people to integrate fully into British society, but that does not mean they should have to give up the things they hold dear in their religion. So while we will always make sure the Food Standards Agency properly regulates the slaughter of livestock and poultry, we will protect methods of religious slaughter, such as shechita and halal."

The Labour Party

"We want to create a world-leading Food, Farm and Fisheries sector that creates better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy. We will put in place a long-term strategy for the sector, promote the best of British produce, and expand the role of the supermarket watchdog to support the growth of the sector, and protect food producers from unfair practices by the major supermarkets."

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