Is the Food Bill still on the government’s menu?

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 6th September 2018
Illustration of people holding up various food and drink types, with the captions 'Health' and 'Nutrition' above

The Scottish Food Coalition expresses disappointment at "diminished" ambition.

The Scottish Government’s 2018-19 Programme for Government has scaled back on a firm commitment to legislation, opting instead for a “Good Food Nation programme” which will consider “what legislative measures might be required to underpin our ambition”. A Good Food Nation Bill is not currently scheduled to be introduced this year.

A Bill is needed to tackle Scotland’s connected food challenges.  With two-thirds of us overweight or obese, one in ten UK children growing up in households unable to afford enough food and the huge environmental impact of food production and food waste, warm words are not enough. The ALLIANCE has previously expressed support for the Good Food Nation Bill and is a member of the Scottish Food Coalition.

Professor Mary Brennan, Chair of the Scottish Food Coalition, said:

“It’s disappointing that despite widespread support in Parliament and in the country, ambitions for the bill have been scaled back.  There’s a world-wide recognition among business, civil society, governments and international bodies that we need to tackle food system challenges and Scotland could be leading the way.”

Pete Ritchie, director of Nourish Scotland called for renewed commitments to a Good Food Nation Bill: “There’s cross-party support for an ambitious Bill that would set a new direction of travel for food in Scotland.  The measure of a world-class food system is not how much food and drink we can export but how well we can nourish all our citizens sustainably while providing good jobs for all who work in food.  Scotland has all the ingredients to deliver this, and the public are behind it.  We just need the political will.”

Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland head of policy and public affairs, said: “This is a real setback. We want to see a just transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable ​food system. A cross cutting Bill is widely seen as the way to support that.”

The Scottish Food Coalition is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that the Good Food Nation Bill is central to its consultation this autumn.

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