HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 c123WS
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether it is his policy that the Prison Service should promote the procurement of British food; what guidance he has issued to the prison service about food procurement; and if he will make a statement; [129363]

(2) how much the Prison Service spent on food in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; how m uch food was wasted in each year; and if he will make a statement. [129365]

Paul Goggins

The Prison Service procures food using contracts awarded in accordance with European Union (EU) procurement regulations, taking account of quality of product, cost and availability. The EU regulations are designed to support fair and open competition, allowing British suppliers to compete for business with other members of the Community.

The Prison Service is working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the Sustainable Food Procurement Initiative, which is part of the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food. This is intended to encourage the public sector to procure food in a manner that promotes sustainable development and does not discriminate against local and UK suppliers. As part of this, the Prison Service has developed an action plan that will be used to measure progress towards meeting the initiative's objectives.

The Prison Service spent £40,155,638 on food in 2001–02 and £42,357,666 in 2002–03. We have no estimate for the amount of food wasted in 2001–02, but the indicative figures for the current year suggest that waste is currently about 8 per cent.