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McCarthy to continue food waste campaign despite setback

Shadow Defra secretary Kerry McCarthy has said her food waste campaign will continue despite a lost opportunity to debate her Food Waste (Reduction) Bill in the House of Commons.

The bill was due for a second reading in the Commons on 29 January but was delayed after the day’s other business overran.

It has now been rescheduled for 4 March but it will be too far down the order paper to have any chance of being debated.

Following this setback, McCarthy has said she will try to persuade the Government not to object to the bill at its deferred second reading, allowing it to proceed to committee stage without a debate in the Commons.

She has also encouraged her other MPs to take up the isuue as a private member’s bill in June, when there will be the annual ballot for priority places.

There will also be a short debate on food waste in the House of Lords Grand Committees on 4 February, put forward by Baroness Scott of Needham Market and Lord Gardiner of Kimble. McCarthy said this will be a chance to press issues such as increasing the amount of surplus food used for redistribution.

However, McCarthy said on social media she thought the Government believed action was not needed and that “we are doing enough”.

The Bristol East MP said: “It’s very disappointing my bill didn’t get an opportunity to be debated but the campaign will go on.

“I also hope that the bill - and the tremendous public support for it - will mean that voluntary action due to be announced by the industry soon is more ambitious than it has been in the past. I do not think voluntary action alone is enough, but it all helps.”

During a Defra debate in the Commons on 4 February, resources minister Rory Stewart expressed “significant concerns” about the targets in McCarthy’s bill, saying the proposals included “perverse incentives”.

“Voluntary measures have increased by 70% the amount that retailers have managed to redistribute to charitable organisations, and the real key will be getting councils and retailers to work on a unified system,” he said.

similar bill was voted through the French Senate on 3 February, forcing supermarkets to redistribute unused food or face fines.

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