Political Print

Political Print: Government plots road to nowhere on diets

The need for dietary change remains a bewildering blind spot in the government’s new net-zero strategy. Nick Hughes reports. You wait months for the government to put some flesh onto the net-zero bone, then three critical documents totalling 700 pages land on the same morning just days before world leaders gather for the most important…
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Political Print: Will labour be Johnson’s undoing?

The government’s laissez-faire approach to the crisis engulfing UK food supply chains risks storing up long-term problems, says Nick Hughes. As parliament resumed this week the prime ministerial in-tray will have been piled unusually high with issues of national importance. Any one of coronavirus, Afghanistan or social care alone are weighty enough to give most…
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Does government have the appetite for Dimbleby’s food fix?

The first national food strategy in a generation makes the crucial connection between health and the environment, but is it destined to end up on the shelf? Nick Hughes reports. “The UK has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the food system.” So says Henry Dimbleby, the man whose seminal national food strategy seeks to seize…
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Political print: Are we really governed by environmentalists?

The government is facing some inconvenient truths as patience with its green promises begins to dry up. David Burrows reports. “I am an environmentalist,” declared Michael Gove in July 2017. “We need to maintain and enhance the natural world around us, or find ourselves facing disaster.” He talked of better protection of the marine environment,…
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Political Print: Defra stumbles on road to Glasgow

The environment department still burns or buries 60% of its waste and is struggling to reduce its emissions. With COP26 looming it needs to set an example, says David Burrows. David Cameron went from hugging huskies and promising the greenest government ever to cutting the green crap. Boris Johnson, his successor bar one, is now…
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Political Print: A scientific spring?

The UK government wants to promote controversial crop-breeding technologies like gene editing. Foodservice businesses need to be part of the debate, says Nick Hughes. “Now that we have left the EU, we are free to make coherent policy decisions based on science and evidence.” So declared the environment secretary George Eustice last week as he…
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Political Print: Is blue still the colour of the food industry?

The government’s tin-eared response to the pandemic and Brexit has left question marks over the Conservative’s long-term appeal to businesses, argues Nick Hughes. There was a time not so long ago when the food supply chain was largely gilded in Conservative blue. Farmers by and large have traditionally sworn their allegiance to Tory MPs who…
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Political Print: Poleaxing of PHE is a pernicious act

The arms-length agency was making slow progress in tackling obesity, but axing it with no replacement is an act of national self-harm, argues Nick Hughes. As the government U-turns continue to stack up, the scrapping of Public Health England (PHE) may not, by strict definition, count among their number. But be in no doubt: abolishing…
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Political Print: There is more to trade deals than chicken

As the UK Government tees up new deals, relaxing food standards in return for market access at a time of planetary breakdown smacks of the worst kind of short-termism. By Nick Hughes. Of all the insights gleaned during lockdown, the fact that chicken is a national obsession is among the most conclusive. As post-lockdown queues…
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UK eyes larger slice of US trade pie

Before Covid-19 shunted Brexit into the background the UK government revealed its priorities for a trade deal with the United States. Nick Hughes looks at the detail and the implications for the food sector. What does the UK want from a US trade deal? In short, a bigger slice of the trade pie. Total trade…
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