To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need for charities and community groups to buy food instead of having it donated in the event of problems in the food supply chain if no Brexit deal is reached.
13 March 2019
As a responsible government, we are preparing for all eventualities including that of leaving the European Union without a deal. Extensive work to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario has been under way for the last two years to ensure the country continues to operate as smoothly as possible from the day we leave.
It is sensible contingency planning for the Government to ensure providers for critical public services are prepared and ready for a no deal. Lead departments for specific public sector catering (e.g. DHSC for hospital trusts, DfE for schools and MoJ for prisons) have been talking to key food suppliers to those public services to ensure resilient supply chains. Defra is also working closely with MHCLG to ensure local authorities are involved as part of wider EU Exit no deal planning.
We are committed to providing a strong safety-net for those who need it; that is why this Government continues to spend over £90 billion a year on welfare benefits.
We are exploring how we can build on current good practice to make it as easy as possible for food banks to identify and refer back to the local Jobcentre, any customers who may, for a variety of reasons, not be receiving the full formal support to which they are entitled.
In addition the Government has made £15m available in 2019 for a food waste fund to make sure that surplus food goes to those that have a need rather than going to waste.