Labour and Co-op parliamentary candidate for Peterborough, Andrew Pakes argued that the government needs be more “ambitious” towards food security and production targets.

He argued in an essay for the Social Market Foundation (SMF) that while the UK produces 60% of the food it eats, they need to ensure that supply chains can become more “resilient” to future crises.

“Food production targets should be set in relation to their national security and economic growth, just as they have ambitious targets in energy and climate policy.

“Food production targets should be supported by regular reports, and food security assessments should be introduced to ensure that the policy is supporting growth and sustainability,” he said.

The parliamentary candidate stated that the proposed food plan does not have to be about “increasing spending”, and by using public leadership “more wisely” to deliver greater productivity, and sustainability.

Other recommendations for the next government in the essay included:

  • Outlining a food industrial strategy that recognises the significance of the food and drink industry in driving growth, particularly in rural areas;
  • Farming should also be a key part of the UK export strategy;
  • Addressing workforce issues, considering fairer opportunities for small businesses and workers in the sector, and recognising the needs of rural businesses;
  • Setting out plans for increased investment and strong leadership in the food and drink sector to achieve sustainability and productivity;
  • Putting food poverty at the heart of the strategy, to improve health, educational, and social outcomes.

The SMF is set to publish pieces on a range of policy issues, showcasing the ideas of some of the major parties, hoping to be elected to parliament following the next election.

Interim Director at SMF, Aveek Bhattacharya said: “The parliament is going to look quite different and that they are keen to participate in the new policy discussions.”

She added that the food system “does not work” as well as it should, and that the proposal for a national food plan is a welcome contribution.