Neil Parish MP has written to the Prime Minister, calling on the Government to take urgent action on food waste.
Two million tonnes of fresh, unsold food is wasted in the UK every year. Funding to help farmers and food producers get this food to frontline charities has now ended. If the funding were to be extended, it could create an additional 53m meals for vulnerable families. Without it, the food will be needlessly wasted – thrown into biogas digesters, sent to landfill or simply ploughed back into the fields.
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 commit to vital food waste funding ahead of next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
The letter, led by Neil and signed by 53 MPs representing both sides of the house, calls for £5m a year to offset the costs of redistributing food from farmers and businesses to charities. This will help the UK mitigate 124,378 tonnes of carbon.
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.”
“With just over a week until the Comprehensive Spending Review and two weeks until COP, 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.”
In Tiverton and Honiton last year, FareShare redistributed the equivalent of 127,900 meals via 23 local organisations. This funding would enable them to nearly double the amount of food that they could provide to people across the UK, through saving surplus food.
Champion of the campaign and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish MP, 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.”