26 July 2019, 11:06 AM
  • The announcement of Boris Johnson being elected as leader of the Conservative Party has promoted plenty of reaction in the world of food and drink. Here's what leaders in the industry have to say:
Boris Johnson is the new PM: Industry reacts

NFU President Minette Batters congratulated Boris Johnson and has urged that the departure from the EU is carried out in a smooth and orderly way.

Mrs Batters said, “Mr Johnson has an opportunity to develop a new agricultural policy that works for Britain by creating a sustainable, vibrant and competitive future for our farming sector. We need to see policies that allow farm businesses to innovate, that help farmers rise to the challenge of tackling climate change, that enable farms access to the workers that pick, pack and grade our fruit, veg and flowers, and crucially an Agriculture Bill that is fit for purpose for the rising challenges of food production. I look forward to working with the incoming Prime Minister and his Government to ensure we can achieve this and that British farming is recognised as strategically important for the nation.”

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said, “We congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming the new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. There are many pressing issues in retail and the wider economy, such as rising costs and weakening consumer demand, and we look forward to engaging with Mr Johnson and his team to promote constructive solutions to these issues.

“Retailers employ three million people across the UK, making the industry the UK’s largest private sector employer, and the burden of business rates and other public policy costs put these jobs and our high streets at risk. With retail conditions the toughest they have been for a decade, the new Prime Minister must act to support the successful reinvention of retail locations and local communities. We hope the new Government will commit to a full review of the broken business rate system and to collaborate with the BRC on a strategy to bolster the retail industry during this time of rapid change.”

The industry has also commented on the announcement of Theresa Villiers MP as the new Defra Secretary. FDF chief executive Ian Wright CBE said, “We are very much looking forward to working with the new Secretary of State and building on our extremely positive relationship with Defra.

“As set out in the industry’s Plan for Success – we eagerly anticipate the creation of a much needed National Food Strategy which encourages growth, respect for food and drink as an essential resource, and which drives sustainable consumption and production. Alongside partners from the Food and Drink Sector Council, we stand ready to deliver a thriving and productive UK food and drink industry which boosts the UK economy and provides abundant choice for shoppers.”