Rebecca Long-Bailey calls on government to set up ‘national food service’

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey has called on the government to set up a “National Food Service”, coordinating supermarkets and their supply chains, to help people who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 crisis.

The MP for Salford and Eccles has argued for the establishment of a “comprehensive and coordinated” response from the government in response to coronavirus to make sure that all households get the essentials they need.

In the plan outlined by the Shadow Business Secretary, people in need would be able to request free weekly packages of basics including food and toiletries that would be distributed across the country.

The leadership hopeful’s proposal would see the coordination of supermarkets, supply chains and food banks to set up local storage and packing hubs, from which the Royal Mail would deliver the products to people’s homes.

Long-Bailey said: “We’ve all seen the empty supermarket shelves and worried whether our friends and loved ones will have everything they need during the outbreak. Supermarkets have worked incredibly hard to stay stocked and implement their own forms of rationing on essential items but it’s not working. The supermarkets can’t be expected to deliver on their own.

“We need a comprehensive and coordinated response from the government that I call the National Food Service. This Service would coordinate the supermarkets and their supply chains and work with Royal Mail so that everyone receives the essentials who needs them. We really can make sure that no one is left behind in this crisis.”

The proposal comes after the CWU voted last week to become and additional emergency service, with postal workers able to deliver medication, check on the vulnerable and support people working from home.

More from LabourList