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Food From Britain

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) representations she has received from and (b) consultations she has held with small and medium sized food (i) producers and (ii) exporters concerning the allocation of the recently announced additional funding for Food from Britain. [113762]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: The additional funding for Food from Britain is intended to help implement Defra's regional food strategy. That strategy was drawn up and agreed in a series of meetings between the department and key stakeholders and forms part of the Government's Sustainable Food and Farming Strategy (SFFS) launched in December 2002. In drawing up the SFFS we took as our evidence-base the work of the Curry Commission, the submissions which we received from over 1,000 organisations that we consulted on taking forward its conclusions and the views of those people who joined in our regional roadshows.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of the additional funding for Food from Britain will be spent on (a) personnel, (b) training, (c) members' services and (d) press relations; and if she will provide a breakdown of spending in other categories. [113764]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: Food from Britain will receive an additional £1 million this year for the promotion of English regional food and drink. This is in addition to the £260,000 they already receive. The provisional breakdown of the combined allocation (rounded to the nearest thousand pounds) is:

(a) and (b) £45,000 for Food from Britain personnel and their training needs;
(c) none (Fast Track members' services are concerned with export promotion only);
(d) £42,000 for public relations.
The provisional breakdown for the remainder of the allocation is:

national trade development activities (e.g. trade shows, meet the buyer events, regional food directories) £133,000;
consumer awareness (e.g. national consumer food shows; national regional food tourism portal and guides) £155,000;
business competitiveness (e.g. export guides, benchmarking) £15,000;
Eat the View initiative £150,000; and
delivery of regional projects to support FFB's national programme £720,000 (£90,000 for each region).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether small and medium sized food and drink (a) producers and (b) exporters must become members of Food from Britain to receive support from her Department. [113769]

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will provide support for British Food Fortnight. [113763]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: The Government's Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy recognises the need to help farmers and regional food and drink producers add more value by reconnecting with customers and the rest of the food chain. The additional money being made available to Food from Britain to support the quality regional food sector is intended to help address this need. These objectives chime well with those of British Food Fortnight, but direct Government aid to the latter could conflict with our obligations under Article 28 of the EC Treaty not to distort competition by favouring products because of their national origin.