Chancellor urged to support food industry in Budget

The head of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has urged Chancellor Alistair Darling to recognise the importance of the food manufacturing industry in his 2009 Budget.

Speaking in advance of tomorrow's Budget announcement, the director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Melanie Leech said that with food security at the top of the agenda both nationally and globally, this is the year for the Chancellor to recognise the “strategic importance” of food manufacturing.

Insisting that the government needs to give a signal of confidence to the industry, she said that regulation must be addressed if the industry is to remain sustainable.

“Our member companies tell us that unwarranted and poorly-implemented regulation is the biggest threat to their competitive position – including that which is disguised as ‘voluntary’ measures,” she said.

“We must halt the tide of unnecessary bureaucracy: what’s happened to the Regulatory Budgets that were launched last year as one way of controlling regulation?”

Leech added that the Chancellor must provide the right fiscal measures to support the industry through the economic downturn and give clarity over issues such as trade credit insurance and the phase-in for the EU Temporary Agency Workers Directive.

Concluding, she said that if the Chancellor announces a ‘green budget’, he should focus on assisting manufacturers to reduce their environmental impact, rather than relying on “headline-grabbing” initiatives such as tax breaks for electric cars.

“We need investment in a national infrastructure on energy from waste – for example through anaerobic digestion – and combined heat and power, and would welcome Government incentives to encourage industry to take these up,” she said.

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