Food and Drink Federation offers cautious welcome to government Budget

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation has reacted with caution to the government’s latest financial Budget, delivered by the new chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Having been appointed to the role just a few weeks ago after Sajid Javid’s shock resignation, one of the first acts of the new postholder was to introduce a new measure taxing all plastics with less than 30% recyclable content from 2022.

FDF’s chief executive, Ian Wright CBE, welcomed  the government’s action on carbon footprint issues in the latest Budget, but expressed concern regarding its latest taxation move, which he believed would be unduly tough on many manufacturers.

The organisation represents a diverse range of key businesses operating within the snacks and confectionery sector, with many already expressing concern regarding logistics issues that will arise at the end of this year unless the UK fashions a new trade deal with the EU.

“The UK’s food and drink manufacturers will have mixed views about today’s Budget. It is very welcome that the Government has listened to FDF’s call to extend the Climate Change Agreements (CCA) for two years. This will help businesses transition to the lower carbon economy we all want to see. The CCA scheme is essential in facilitating the industry’s pathway to zero carbon in 2050.

“The short-term measures announced by the Bank of England and the Chancellor today to help businesses manage the impact of COVID-19 are very welcome. The UK’s food and drink supply chain is efficient and well managed and manufacturers have robust procedures in place. We will continue to brief government on emerging impacts as the situation develops.

“There will be many manufacturers, including producers of shortbread and dairy, that are badly affected by the punishing US tariffs on food and drink. They will be feeling perplexed as to why they do not qualify for the additional support outlined today. We urge government to re-assess the types of businesses who can access this support to ensure exporters across all regions of the UK can access essential support.

“It is very disappointing that government has decided to press ahead with the plastics tax. This will penalise many food and drink producers who are bound by strict food safety rules affecting the packaging they use. We urge the government to rethink how money raised through this tax can be used to transform the UK’s recycling infrastructure and will continue to work with them on the detail.”

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