The Prime Minister and recently-appointed Defra Secretary Liz Truss have launched a “Plan for Public Procurement” to force public sector organisations to adopt a “buy British” philosophy.
From 2017, schools, hospitals and other public sector organisations will be forced to apply a string of tough new buying standards and source sustainable, local and fresh food.
The idea is to bring hundreds of millions of pounds lost in imported produce back into the UK economy. The public sector’s annual food and drink bill is £1.2 billion, but every year £600 million of that is spent on imported produce. The government say the new plan will help create around £400 million of new business for British farmers, small businesses and rural economies.
Mr Cameron said: “Our long-term economic plan is all about backing the do-ers and the hard-workers – and no one does more or works as hard in Britain today than our farmers. By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in our country have a healthier lifestyle. It’s a triple win and will mean a brighter future for our country.”
Ms Truss said: “This move will mean that food served in canteens across the public sector can be more local, seasonal and tastier. It will help grow Britain’s first-class food and drink industry. This is a huge boost to British farmers and producers and for students, patients and employees who want to enjoy fantastic food.”