There are some half-decent signs of manufacturing recovery in the air and even some indications of reasonable fiscal management in parts of our public sector.
However, it gives me no pleasure at all to continue to report an ominous and continuing void in industrial energy policy and pricing. The horizon also shows some very dark weather fronts in the form of misguided EU legislation that, if unchecked, is set to impose crippling new burdens on business.
These dangers therefore need challenging and averting throughout 2014. The months ahead will see me asking in this blog and elsewhere for your support. I hope that you will be able to join with me in representing our cause.
Meantime, the next few weeks brings brighter news in the shape of our first Fresher for Longer conference, LGA Smith Square, London on February 5 2014.
Our Fresher for Longer (FFL) campaign was an outstanding success in 2013.
We – the UK supply and consumption and disposal chain for food consumption – were fortunate enough and organised enough to claim a well publicised victory on behalf of common sense. As the saying goes, we live in a world where common sense has sadly become very uncommon. For the want of a few simple actions, we have identified that UK households are overspending on food by up to £50 a month, and simply creating a mountain of food waste.
The Feb 5 2014 Fresher for Longer London conference will look at this issue head-on and will seek the involvement of the production, retailing and local authority chain in helping consumers tackle the problem.
The conference will follow through on the research and foot holds of 2013 and will feature contributions from all three political parties on the continuing and urgent need to reduce this waste, and thereby to improve food sustainability and food security.
It would seem that the UK and the world are finally moving away from seeing packaging as negative and un-environmental. The opposite, of course, is true. Our sector has a critical and leading role to play in both reducing this food waste and in improving our care for the environment.
The February 5 FFL conference will therefore serve to bring these threads together and to hasten the pace of perception and change. I look forward to bringing you further updates on FFL issues over the coming weeks.