A group of more than 50 MPs has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, urging his government to take urgent action on food waste.
Two million tonnes of fresh food –left unsold – are wasted in the UK every year but funding to help farmers, and food producers, get this food to frontline charities has now ended. If the funding was extended, it could see an additional 53m meals annually made available for vulnerable families.
The letter is part of the #FoodOnPlates campaign, run by FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. They are calling on the government to recommit to vital food waste funding as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The letter signed by MPs, from across the political divide, calls for £5m a year to be allocated which will offset the costs of redistributing food from farmers and businesses to charity. This would also mitigate the release of at least 124,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell said: “In 2019, the Government demonstrated a bold commitment to tackling food waste, with a successful trial that diverted millions of meals’ worth of great quality food from British farms to frontline charities providing care and support to vulnerable families.
“We urge the Government to once again show leadership on this issue and commit to extending vital funding to get in-date, nutritious food onto people’s plates.”
Champion of the campaign, and Conservative MP, Neil Parish, said: “The food that FareShare delivers to community organisations up and down the country is a lifeline for so many families. It’s heart-breaking that good, healthy food, from growers and producers is being wasted in this country when it could be being put to good use by an existing network of almost 11,000 food-providing charities, such as pantries, breakfast clubs, refuges and older people’s lunch clubs.
“Food redistribution is an elegant solution to the problem of food waste – one which benefits both the planet and our local communities, and ensures farmers in rural constituencies like mine can do the right thing with their surplus, morally and environmentally, without losing out financially.”
FareShare is the UK’s biggest food charity, it takes in-date, good-to-eat food, which is unsold or unwanted by the food industry, sorts it across its 30 regional warehouses, and delivers the food on to a network of more than ten thousand charitable groups.
Two thirds of the charities accessing FareShare food support children and families.
Without the work of these groups, the food would be wasted – thrown into biogas digesters, sent to landfill or simply ploughed back into the fields.
Signatories to the letter include: Clive Betts MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Sir Graham Brady MP, Deidre Brock MP, Alan Brown MP, Alistair Carmichael MP, Wendy Chamberlain MP, Sarah Champion MP, Daisy Cooper MP, Ed Davey MP, Martyn Day MP, Tim Farron MP, Simon Fell MP, Patricia Gibson MP, Jo Gideon MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Wera Hobhouse MP, Dr Neil Hudson MP, Christine Jardine MP, Kim Johnson MP, Ben Lake MP, Robert Largan MP, Tony Lloyd MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Kenny MacAskill MP, Anthony Mangnall MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP, Stuart McDonald MP, Catherine McKinnell MP, Anne McLaughlin MP, Carol Monaghan MP, Layla Moran MP, Anne Marie Morris MP, Brendan O’Hara MP, Sarah Olney MP, Kirsten Oswald MP, Neil Parish MP, Sir Mike Penning MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Tommy Sheppard MP, Royston Smith MP, Karin Smyth MP, Jamie Stone MP, Sir Gary Streeter MP, Zarah Sultana MP, Sir Desmond Swayne MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Stephen Timms MP, Munira Wilson MP.