The Conservative PM said from 2017, all of central government will commit to buying fresh, locally-sourced and seasonal food, “so that all food that can be bought locally will be bought locally”.
This was part of a new food and drink buying standard, ‘The Plan for Public Procurement’, which the government said would benefit British farmers, small businesses, rural economies and the British public.
The plan will see the public sector judging potential suppliers by five points:
The public sector in England spends £1.2 billion (€1.52bn) a year on food and drink - £600 million (€758m) of which is spent on imported produce, and £400m (€505m) of which the Tory government said could be sourced from within the UK. It said the wider public sector would also be encouraged to use the new plan “with the expectation that all schools and hospitals will, in future, serve more locally reared meats and freshly picked fruit and vegetables”.
It said British farmers would be better placed to access the “lucrative public sector market” under these standards.
Cameron called the initiative a, “triple win”.
“Our long-term economic plan is all about backing the do-ers and the hard-workers – and no one does more or works as hard in Britain today than our farmers. By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in our country have a healthier lifestyle.”