Oral Question: Plastic Food & Drink Packaging


John Stevenson: As my hon. Friend will know, the food and drinks manufacturing sector is the largest manufacturing sector in our country. It is very innovative, it is a big employer and exporter, and it clearly has a major role to play in the reduction of the use of plastics. Does he agree that it is important that the Government work with the industry to look for solutions, rather than trying to impose solutions on it, as those might not actually work?

Neil Parish:

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. He does a great deal of work with the food and drink sector, and he is right. It is a question not only of working with the food and drink sector in this country, but of imports. As we change things—as we start to put taxes on plastic, and so on—we must ensure that our businesses here are not affected more than businesses that make the goods that we import. That is very important, and I am certain that the Minister has taken a great deal of notice of what my hon. Friend has said.

We need to take the industry with us, because they are the ones who will create the packaging in the first place and will then need to have a method of disposal through the retail system; they will need to work with retailers and consumers to ensure that we get it right.

To conclude, we in Parliament need to lead by example, by removing all single-use packaging from our catering facilities. Will the Minister work with House authorities to help us achieve a plastic-free Parliament?


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