Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are criticising the ruling Conservatives for turning a serious proposal to support measures to reduce food waste in supermarkets into a party political attack on their opponents.
At the district’s Council meeting last night, Labour proposed a motion that would have endorsed campaigns to divert surplus edible food from disposal towards consumption, and would have backed the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill sponsored by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy currently going through Parliament. However, Conservative councillors radically amended the motion so that it attacked Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors and congratulated the Council on its domestic waste reduction campaigns.
Among the sentiments deleted by the Conservatives were a belief that the food industry’s targets are insufficient to tackle the problem and a call for ambitious targets for food waste reduction. The Tories also removed references to large supermarkets and manufacturers having to publish their levels of food waste, and requiring the Government to consider policies that would incentivise supermarkets to redistribute surplus food.
Labour Group leader Councillor Pat Rooney (Woodstock ward) says:
“The Tories simply do not get it – on two levels.
First, they closed their minds to the fact that our motion was about tackling the large-scale problem of supermarket and supply chain food waste and focussed instead on domestic waste, despite Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors making it clear that this was a call for wider action.
Second, by using their majority to sidestep proper debate on important issues in favour of attacking the other parties they demean the Council and the quality of its deliberations. I wish the meeting had been filmed so that residents could see how poorly they conducted themselves.
Our motion provided South Gloucestershire Council with an opportunity to join the debate whilst this Bill is going through Parliament. It is very disappointing that the ruling Conservatives chose to play petty games rather than contribute anything positive on the important issue of food waste reduction.”