Kerry McCarthy Named As Shadow Defra Minister

Kerry McCarthyBristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has been named as the new shadow Environment Secretary, following the introduction of her food waste reduction bill into Parliament.

McCarthy will take over from Maria Eagle as Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, following the finalising of the list of shadow cabinet members by recently appointed Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Elected in 2005, McCarthy used to work as a lawyer and then as head of public policy at a consultancy.

McCarthy last week took to Facebook to confirm the news that her Food Waste Reduction Bill had been granted a second reading.

“Delighted to confirm that the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill has been given leave to proceed – and wasn’t forced to a vote,” she said. “Its second reading has been scheduled for 29th January 2016.”

The bill aims to address the “shocking and unsustainable” levels of industry food waste. It also aims to respond to the global challenge of feeding a growing population from an increasingly scarce agricultural base.

She also announced the MPs who are offering cross-party support for the bill as: Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Margaret Ferrier MP, Frank Field MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Steve Rotheram MP, Alan Whitehead MP, Daniel Zeichner MP.

The Bill will:

  • Oblige supermarkets to donate unsold food – along the lines of recent Belgium and French legislative proposals, which was inspired by a wave of popular support for new laws to end the scandal of supermarket food waste. Although the French laws were recently revoked (hopefully temporarily) for legislative procedural reasons – they ignited petitions for similar laws in the UK, and the EC also passed a resolution recommending for this law to be extended across Europe.
  • Require large supermarkets and manufacturers to publish and transparently report their food waste across the supply chain.
  • Set ambitious food waste targets, equal to the challenge of meeting EU & UN targets on food waste reduction.
  • Require the Government to review its current system of fiscal measures, which perversely makes it cheaper to sell food nearing its use-by date for anaerobic-digestion and composting, rather than for redistribution – and to implement incentives (or disincentives) to enforce the food waste hierarchy.

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