The 2017 General Election is taking place on Thursday in the UK, therefore we thought that we would look at the manifestos of each of the political parties and make note of everything mentioned that relates to the Hospitality and Food Industry.
Which political party has the Hospitality and Food Industry’s interest best at heart?
Funds for farming, fishing and food manufacturing
The EU is the UK’s single largest trading partner in agricultural produce, with the vast majority of British exports being sold to European markets. A Labour government will end the uncertainty for our farmers and food producers by securing continued EU market access allowing British farmers and food producers to continue to sell their products on the Continent.
Labour will also protect our farmers and rural economy by ensuring Britain continues to set the highest standards in food quality and welfare. We will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.
We will drop the Conservatives’ Great Repeal Bill, replacing it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will ensure there is no detrimental change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit.
We will expand the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal. We will reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support smaller traders, local economies, community benefits and sustainable practices. We will allow EU workers employed across farming, fishing and food manufacturing to remain in the UK, and reinstate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme. We will reinstate the Agricultural Wages Board to underpin employment standards and wages.
Investing in children’s health
Labour will invest in children’s health, bringing in a new government ambition for our children to be the healthiest in the world. We will fight health inequalities to break the scandalous link between child ill-health and poverty. We will introduce a new Index of Child Health to measure progress against international standards, and report annually against four key indicators: obesity, dental health, under-fives and mental health. We will set up a new £250 million Children’s Health Fund to support our ambitions. As part of a preventative healthcare drive, Labour will increase the number of health visitors and school nurses. We will publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first 100 days, with proposals on advertising and food labelling. We will make a concerted effort to address poor childhood oral health in England. Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.
Migrant workers- Skills shortage
Whatever our trade arrangements, we will need new migration management systems, transparent and fair to everybody. Working with businesses, trade unions, devolved governments and others to identify specific labour and skill shortages. Working together we will institute a new system which is based on our economic needs, balancing controls and existing entitlements. This may include employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a tailored mix of all these which works for the many, not the few. Labour will protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. Our National Education Service will raise the level of skills and training. We will take decisive actions to end the exploitation of migrant labour undercutting workers’ pay and conditions.
Labour will protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. Our National Education Service will raise the level of skills and training. We will take decisive actions to end the exploitation of migrant labour undercutting workers’ pay and conditions.
Farming Industry- Growth for countryside community
We will bring sustainable growth to the rural economy and boost our rural areas, so that people who live in the countryside have the same opportunities as those who live in our towns and cities. We have huge ambitions for our farming industry: we are determined to grow more, sell more and export more great British food. We want to provide stability to farmers as we leave the EU and set up new frameworks for supporting food production and stewardship of the countryside. So we will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of the parliament. We will work with farmers, food producers and environmental experts across Britain and with the devolved administrations to devise a new agri-environment system, to be introduced in the following parliament.
Children and young people’s health
Children’s and young people’s health We believe government has a role to play in helping young people get the best possible start in life. We are seeing progress: smoking rates are now lower than France or Germany, drinking rates have fallen below the European average and teenage pregnancies are at record lows. We will continue to take action to reduce childhood obesity. We will promote efforts to reduce unhealthy ingredients and provide clearer food information for consumers, as our decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility over the presentation of information on packaged food. We shall continue to support school sport, delivering on our commitment to double support for sports in primary schools.
We will make the immigration system work for these sectors, whilst ensuring that we develop the skills we need for the future. We will therefore ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with our modern industrial strategy. We envisage that the committee’s advice will allow us to set aside significant numbers of visas for workers in strategically-important sectors, such as digital technology, without adding to net migration as a whole. However, skilled immigration should not be a way for government or business to avoid their obligations to improve the skills of the British workforce. So we will double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year by the end of the parliament, using the revenue generated to invest in higher level skills training for workers in the UK.
Farming, food and agriculture
Our system must support farmers, ensure food production, and protect the environment. That’s why we will:
• Continue our long campaign to reform agricultural subsidies – making sure British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out in the event of Britain leaving the EU, rebalancing away from direct subsidy and refocusing support towards the public goods that come from effective land management including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production, and climate change mitigation. This would ensure that smaller farms are protected and move support away from large landowners, whilst delivering a more localised agricultural policy.
• Encourage new and younger entrants to farming by championing different forms of ownership including longer tenancies, share farming, and community ownership.
• Introduce a National Food Strategy to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food.
• Increase the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and extend its remit to include businesses further up the supply chain, helping to ensure that farmers receive a fair price.
• Continue to improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture by updating farm animal welfare codes and promoting the responsible stewardship of antibiotic drugs.
• Ensure that future trade deals require high safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for food imports, including clear and unambiguous country of origin labelling for meat and dairy products.
Continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy, and ensure work, tourist and family visas are processed quickly and efficiently.
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