Food strategy 'not a failure,' PM insists despite criticism it 'dodges salt and sugar tax'

13 June 2022, 10:22 | Updated: 13 June 2022, 12:05

Boris Johnson spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari
Boris Johnson spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Boris Johnson has insisted his vision for the food industry is not a "failure" amid significant criticism from the Government's own food tsar.

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Leon founder Henry Dimbleby said the strategy lacked measures he had recommended to promote health while concerns were also raised that children could go hungry.

Nick Ferrari this morning put Mr Dimbleby's comments to the Prime Minister, saying the "landmark plan" was "not a strategy" and "doesn't set out a clear vision as to why we have the problems we have".

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Nick also pointed out it "dodged the idea of salt and sugar tax" and has "done nothing to try and bring about a reduction in the consumption of meat".

A draft of the strategy was leaked last week, with the final version set to be launched today.

Mr Johnson insisted that "what we are looking at is supporting UK farmers, supporting British agriculture", adding: "Frankly, we have got an opportunity now to eat much more domestic produce and improve our food security."

"I'm very grateful to Henry for all the work he has done. This is about helping to support UK food and farming at a particularly important time," he said.

He pointed to a global "food crisis" including a "shortage of grain around the world" caused Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He said the strategy was about "more security and stability in our supplies".

The Prime Minister added that innovation and technology in agriculture could "bring costs down for consumers", pointing to a machine that can plant "150,000 cabbages a day".

He insisted his vision would mean "we don't waste a lot of time and money importing stuff when we can grow it beautifully here in the UK".