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Supermarkets: Key Workers

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 32736, tabled on 20 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of the supermarket industry on introducing mobile supermarkets to enable key workers to shop for food at (a) hospitals, (b) schools, (c) police stations and (d) other places of work.

Answered on

30 March 2020

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to these changes in demands, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

The Government has not had discussions with industry on introducing mobile supermarkets to enable key workers to shop for food. We welcome efforts by supermarkets to ensure that key workers can continue to get the food and groceries they need and will continue to work with industry to discuss any additional support Government can provide.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced other measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest.

Representatives of our leading supermarkets have asked customers to shop considerately and we echo their call.