The Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has this week launched an Inquiry into the UK’s Food Security. The Inquiry was triggered by Committee Member, Dr Neil Hudson MP. The Cross Party Committee comprising of Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs will evaluate the critical subject of the UK’s Food Security.
UK food supply chains are experiencing disruption caused by a range of factors, including the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, labour shortages, the UK’s relationship with the EU, and increasing energy and fertiliser prices.
As a result, food prices are increasing which is affecting British consumers’ ability to access healthy and nutritious food, while questions are being raised about whether we produce enough of our own food.
The Committee’s inquiry will look at what steps the Government can take to support food security by:
- examining the current drivers of high food production costs, its impact on food availability and the policy solutions available to Government.
- considering how food security should be reflected in the upcoming Land Use Strategy and what this might mean for the balance of priorities of land use.
Dr Neil Hudson MP for Penrith and The Border, and Member of the EFRA Select Committee said,
“The pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have brought food security into sharp relief. Our farmers in the UK are facing increasing costs for fuel, energy, fertiliser and animal feed and are facing challenges post-Brexit in areas such as labour supply. I wanted our Committee to again look at Food Security in these challenging times, so that we can make recommendations to Government as to what we can do to bolster our resilience but also contribute to the global food crisis that is looming. As such, I am delighted that our Committee has agreed and decided to launch this vital inquiry.”
In particular, the Committee will consider the Government’s recently published food strategy policy paper, and Defra’s role in responding to these challenges.
The Committee is seeking views in the following areas:
- What are the key factors affecting the resilience of food supply chains and causing disruption and rising food prices – including input costs, labour shortages and global events? What are the consequences for UK businesses and consumers?
- What is the outlook for UK food price inflation in the short and medium term? What policy interventions should the Government consider to manage these pressures?
- How are the rising cost of living and increasing food prices affecting access to healthy and nutritious food?
- How will the proposals in the Government’s food strategy policy paper affect:
- the resilience of food supply chains?;
- the agri-food and seafood sectors?;
- access to healthy, nutritious food?
- Is the current level and target of food self-sufficiency in England still appropriate?
- How could the Government’s proposed land use strategy for England improve food security? What balance should be stuck between land use for food production and other goals – such as environmental benefit?
The deadline for submissions (that may cover some or all of the above points) is Friday 30 September 2022.