Gov­ern­ment food prom­ise ap­petis­ing for UK busi­nesses

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

IT is har­vest time and ev­ery­where in the UK there is freshly-gath­ered food at the peak of its con­di­tion. Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is po­ten­tially a big cus­tomer in this mar­ket.

The prime min­is­ter and the en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary an­nounced in July that, from 2017, cen­tral gov­ern­ment is go­ing to com­mit to buy fresh, lo­cally-sourced, sea­sonal food.

The ini­tia­tive will be backed by a new sim­pli­fied food and drink buy­ing stan­dard.

The new Plan for Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment could ben­e­fit thou­sands of Bri­tish pro­duc­ers, small busi­nesses, the ru­ral econ­omy and the pub­lic.

It could add up to £400 mil­lion in new business for the Bri­tish food in­dus­try.

The pub­lic sec­tor spends £1.2 bil­lion each year on food and drink.

Up to £600m of that is spent im­port­ing food.

It is es­ti­mated that £400m of th­ese food­stuffs could be bought within the UK.

All schools and hos­pi­tals are ex­pected to serve more lo­cally reared meats or freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

Buy­ers in the pub­lic sec­tor are go­ing to judge their po­ten­tial sup­pli­ers with five key cri­te­ria:

How food is pro­duced and whether the food was pro­duced lo­cally.

The health and nu­tri­tional con­tent of food pur­chases.

The re­source ef­fi­ciency of pro­duc­ing the food (such as wa­ter and en­ergy use, or waste pro­duc­tion).

How far the food bought meets the gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties, such as sup­port­ing small and medium-sized en­ter­prises.

The qual­ity of ser­vice and value for money.

From Septem­ber 2014, there will be a new buy­ing process with an on­line por­tal, so that com­pa­nies will be able to reg­is­ter.

If the company meets the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments, they will then be no­ti­fied au­to­mat­i­cally when any el­i­gi­ble con­tracts are put out for ten­der.

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