Knowledge for better food systems

Food promises? A UK general election manifesto review

This report from the UK’s Food Ethics Council reviews the electoral manifestos of the Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties in 2015 and 2019 to see how each party’s food policies have changed over time.

The report identifies several overarching policy shifts between 2015 and 2019. In 2019:

  • Food system concerns were more prominent overall.
  • Manifestos generally had more specific timeframes, such as the Green manifesto giving a short timeframe for a transition to agroecological farming, and the Conservative manifesto setting a short timeframe for protecting oceans.
  • There was a greater focus on stewardship of the natural world.
  • There was stronger cross-party support for smaller farmers, new farmers, and urban and local farming.
  • There was more use of rights-based language, e.g. a right to food, human and environmental rights in trade deals, and rights of food workers to union representation. Rights-based language was not applied to animals.
  • There was cross-party commitment to protecting UK standards when negotiating trade agreements.

The report then looks at the following key issues in more detail:

  • Agriculture
  • Fish and fisheries
  • Healthy and sustainable diets
  • Environment and the climate crisis
  • Household food insecurity
  • Meat, dairy and farmed animals
  • Farm animal welfare
  • Food waste
  • Workers’ rights and fairness

Read the full report, Food promises? A review of shifts in UK general election manifestos 2015-2019, here. See also the Foodsource chapter What is a healthy sustainable eating pattern?

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