Opinion Former Article

Countryside Alliance: Is buying British patriotism or practicality?

New information obtained by the Countryside Alliance has shown not even 10 Downing Street can tell how much of food served at the Prime Ministers official residence is British.

In response to the request for "the proportion of food which was procured by official residences for official functions in the past twelve months and which was domestically produced", The Cabinet Office (responsible for No.10 Downing Street and Chequers) admitted "There is no information on whether the proportion of food procured in the past twelve months was domestically produced."

The failure of No. 10 Downing Street to record and monitor the amount of British food being procured for official functions is contrary to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs's, recent exhortation that if people "want a strong, thriving successful farming industry - if you want to support the industry in Britain - buy British".

The findings follow Gordon Brown's statement last year "Everybody knows that British bacon is best", despite the Cabinet Office, of which the Prime Minister's residence and office are an "integral part", had failed to buy any British bacon in 2007-08.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: "The Government needs to practice what they preach. It is time for our government to support the countryside in the most simple of ways - by buying British. There is no excuse for key government residences not being able to tell us how much of the food they are procuring and serving at official functions is British"

Notes to editors:

The Countryside Alliance blueprint for the next government on farming can be found in the Rural Manifesto http://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/our-campaigns/rural-manifesto/farming/

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