Food and drink industry ‘key to the country’s economic recovery’ post lockdown

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out his four-step plan to lift lockdown restrictions across the UK which will pave the way for sectors across the UK to reopen on a phased basis.

The closure of the hospitality sector for large parts of the last 12 months due to lockdown, has had a severe impact on the sales of agricultural produce.

However, Ian Wright CBE, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), was disappointed by the lack of consultation with businesses by the government on this new roadmap to end lockdown across the UK.

He said:

It is disappointing but wholly expected that the Prime Minister’s roadmap shows no signs of taking account of any input from business.

“For a great many of the food and drink manufacturers supplying the hospitality and food service sectors, a return to ‘business as usual’ seems an awful long way off.

“As such, it is only correct that the chancellor outlines significant extensions to the furlough and credit insurance schemes as part of his budget announcement next week.

The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. It will therefore be key to the country’s economic recovery, with a footprint in every region.

“Now is the time for government to provide additional support to ensure those businesses most at risk can play their part in putting the country back on its feet,” he concluded.

4-step plan to end lockdown

Johnson said it is “crucial that this roadmap should be cautious but also irreversible,” and claimed that England is “setting out on what I hope and believe is a one-way road to freedom, and this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccination”.

Johnson also told Parliament there is “no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain or, indeed, a zero-Covid world”.

“We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental well-being, and the life chances of our children,” he concluded.