FDF responds to chancellor’s spending review

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has responded to the chancellor’s 2020 spending review. In his statement, Rishi Sunak said his immediate priority was to protect people’s lives and livelihoods as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 outbreak, allocating £55bn to tackle the virus next year.

Ian Wright CBE, chief executive of the FDF, said: “The spending review announcement will be broadly welcomed by the food and drink industry, particularly the chancellor’s commitment to additional investment in skills. The lifetime skills guarantee will be key to helping upskill the UK’s workforce, while other schemes will provide much needed additional support to those younger people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

The chancellor also announced how the government aims to deliver the next stages of its investment plans in infrastructure to drive the UK’s recovery via £100bn of capital spending next year and a £4bn Levelling Up Fund.

Wright added: “The announcement presented a unique opportunity for the chancellor to show his support for the food and drink supply chain and its 4.3m employees – sectors severely impacted by the government’s closure of the hospitality industry. This was his chance to help put us back on the path to long-term growth and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the government’s independent trade policy.

“If the government wishes to further support UK industry, it must also consider whether it presses ahead with those policies which would deter investment and suffocate profitability. Proposals such as the proposed online advertising ban on HFSS foods would impact a broad swathe of products and inhibit innovation across our industry.”