News article

19 March 2020

Closure of schools – FDF writes to Secretaries of State calling on the Government to provide childcare for the food and drink supply chain

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FDF has published the following press release.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) yesterday wrote to George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and counterparts across the devolved nations. The letter urges government to define food and drink supply chain and manufacturing workers as 'key workers' for the purpose of prioritising available school and childcare places.

Many production and technical roles within the food and drink supply chain rely on specific skills – workers cannot be easily moved either for reasons of geography or ability. It is essential to the Critical National Infrastructure and our ability to feed the nation that the Government supports the supply chain by defining food and drink supply chain workers as 'key workers' to ensure access to childcare provision.

FDF, which represents food and drink manufacturers, published a survey this week, exploring business impacts of Coronavirus with its members, eight out of ten respondents stated that workforce shortages is seen as the primary concern for businesses of all sizes, citing panic buying as a prominent factor in addition.

It was also revealed that a third of respondents said that production uplift of 11 – 25% would be unviable and only 17% would face no issues in meeting the demand.

With the decisions taken to close many schools food and drink manufacturers will be deeply concerned about how they will maintain essential production in the coming weeks and protect their staff.

Key statistics:

  • FDF surveyed 81 respondents, representing both SMEs and larger companies
  • The survey ran from Thursday 19 March and Monday 23 March, inclusive

For more information or to speak to an FDF representative about this, please contact FDF's media team at press.office@fdf.org.uk; 020 7836 2460.

More Information

Contact Ellie Ashwell, Corporate Affairs Division, at: ellie.ashwell@fdf.org.uk, or 07701380755.

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