Political Print

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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Unconvincing Villiers leaves more questions than answers

The appearance of DEFRA secretary of state Theresa Villiers at a recent conference for UK farmers didn’t provide the clarity or reassurance the food industry is seeking for life in a post-EU world, writes Nick Hughes. When she took to the stage at this month’s annual Oxford Farming Conference Theresa Villiers had the opportunity to…
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Plastic tax gets green light

The government has reiterated plans to charge for single-use plastic items as part of package of measures to tackle waste set out in the Queen’s Speech. Plans to extend producer responsibility, ensure a consistent approach to recycling and introduce deposit return schemes also feature in the new Environment Bill. The government will create a new…
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Johnson’s actions speak louder than words

With there being little of substance to chew on in his first speech as the country’s PM, perhaps the key to understanding Boris Johnson’s intentions lies not in his rhetoric but in his appointments, writes Nick Hughes A Great British eccentric whose unique brand of chutzpah will secure a golden future for his country? Or…
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Footprint Investigation: Parliament burnt by compostable pledge

A Footprint investigation has discovered that large volumes of new compostable packaging from the Houses of Parliament are being sent for incineration due to shortcomings in the waste supply chain. By Nick Hughes. More than a year after UK Parliament first announced plans to switch to new compostable packaging, Footprint can reveal that none of…
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Government warned off “dangerous” allergen regulations

Better communication between businesses and customers is the most effective way to tackle allergen-related issues, said UKHospitality in its response to the government’s consultation on new regulations. Some of the options under consideration are “potentially dangerous” and impractical, the organisation warned. Defra has proposed an overhaul of food allergen information laws. This followed the tragic…
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