The UK’s new prime minister Liz Truss has been urged to rewrite the National Food Strategy in order to avoid seeing thousands of small and medium-sized businesses go bankrupt as energy prices soar.
A range of trade bodies signed a letter calling on the government to rewrite the National Food Strategy, taking the “unparalleled” impact of the current energy crisis into account.
It said much of the food and drink industry would not survive unless there was government intervention to mitigate the cost of soaring industry energy bills.
The letter was signed by organisations including the Provision Trade Federation, the British Meat Processors Association, the British Poultry Council, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the Federation of Bakers, among others.
They are calling for action to lower the burden of energy prices for food businesses, which are already facing major manufacturing, distributing and income problems.
Truss said that she would “deliver on the energy crisis” in her victory speech yesterday afternoon.
A freeze on energy bills is understood to be one of a number of options to help struggling households, although it is unclear what help will be available for businesses.
“We are concerned about the extraordinary pressures facing the food and drink industry,” said PTF director general Rod Addy.
“The situation is so serious that we felt it could not wait for the prime minister and cabinet to be in place.”
The letter states: “Our members are facing unsustainable increases in energy prices on top of multiple supply chain challenges, all of which are adding to the cost-of-living crisis, especially for those with limited means.
“We are asking for urgent mitigation of energy bills for the whole food sector, in line with the special recognition we were accorded in the context of Covid-19 measures.”
The 7,590 businesses which make up the UK’s food and drink sector have a combined turnover of £21bn and employ more than 134,000 people.