Former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe said it was “madness” the Government spend a fortune on food imports for the public sector. The businessman said he was backing the Love British Food campaign which is encouraging people to discover home-produced food.
Mr Lowe tweeted: “It’s madness that Government spends millions of pounds of our cash on imported food for the public sector, when British farmers produce some of the best food in the world! Bureaucrats and red tape to blame!”
Love British Food has urged Boris Johnson to back its campaign to reduce food imports and instead source produce locally.
The group said: “The British food and farming industry has heroically supported us.
“We’re calling on the PM to back them by encouraging the public sector to buy British.
“A concerted Government effort would transform local communities. Boris Johnson – Let Us Love British!”
The campaign has also won the backing of celebrity chef Raymond Blanc who has signed a letter to Mr Johnson asking the Government to commit to spending 85 per cent of the annual public sector food budget with British businesses.
The restaurateur said it was a scandal so much food served in the NHS and other taxpayer-funded institutions like care homes, prisons and even the Army, comes from abroad.
The 71-year-old chef patron of Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire told the Daily Express: “Be it patients in hospitals, children in schools, or the elderly in care homes, they all deserve the freshest, good quality nutritious food.
“More and more there is wonderful food produced in Britain – much of it among the best in the world. So come on, public sector, put it on your menus.
“British food for British schools, hospitals and care homes. Source it, serve it, eat it, love it. And it needs to be done now.”
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Love British Food said a commitment to buy more British food across the public sector has the potential to drive £400million of investment into the UK’s rural economy.
Campaign founder Alexia Robinson said: “I’ve seen first-hand how buying British supports local communities. It isn’t just farmers and producers who benefit, whole towns and villages have been transformed.
“The UK food and farming industry is the envy of the world and the quality of the goods is among the best available.
“This year has been tough, but we are more determined than ever to support local producers who have done such a wonderful job of keeping the country going.”
Speaking in the House of Commons he asked Defra minister Victoria Prentis: “Will she ensure we have high standards to help domestic growers because we need to have more homegrown food on British plates and more agriculture in Britain?”
Ms Prentis replied: “I know he is every bit ambitious for the future of British horticulture than I am.
“I really do think there is more that we can be growing here and I very much hope in the next few years that comes to pass.”