This is a serious issue and it is vital everything possible is done to help people with the cost of living. Ministers are working hard to improve competition to help producers and retailers offer the best prices for food and regularly discuss all aspects of food security, including accessibility.
It is encouraging that the UK has long-established relationships with industry, and I am pleased that the Government continues to work with business to ensure that we have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food from a wide range of sources, particularly from British farmers.
I am pleased that the Government remains committed to encouraging children and adults to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. Public Health England encourages the eating of fruit and vegetables through the Eatwell Guide, catering guidance and marketing campaigns, including Start4Life, Change4Life and One You.
I also firmly support the Government’s Healthy Start voucher programme, helping pregnant people or people with a child under four to buy basic foods like milk or fruit. I understand that the programme can also include pregnancy vitamins, breastfeeding vitamins, and vitamins for children aged 6 months to five years old. I know that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care believes that healthy living will enable us to prevent people from developing lifestyle related conditions, in turn freeing up NHS staff to deal with other patients, and wholeheartedly supports raising the profile of the Healthy Start Voucher scheme.
I understand your concerns for future trade and food standards, but the Government knows that British consumers want high welfare produce – and so if our trading partners want to break into the UK market, they should expect to meet those standards. Our manifesto commitment is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any deals live up to the values of our farmers and consumers.