The Levy Control Framework (LCF) limit is due to increase significantly from £3.184 billion in 2013-14 to £7.6 billion by 2020-21. The funds raised and spent via the LCF will soon surpass DECC's departmental budget. There must be transparent arrangements which ensure that Parliament has adequate oversight of how these funds are raised and spent, particularly in the light of public concern over the cost of energy bills. This report has been produced ahead of Parliament's consideration of the Supplementary Estimates 2013-14 in order to draw to the House's attention the annual derogation obtained by DECC from HM Treasury to remove LCF-related expenditure and revenues from its Supplementary Estimates. The current situation has led to an absence of LCF-related reporting in the Department's end year Accounts. The Committee would like to debate in the House: the implications of DECC's levy-funded schemes along with other government initiatives which affect energy bills but which fall outside of the LCF; and the current inadequate reporting arrangements relating to LCF spending and revenues; and the developing plans for improving these arrangements and enhancing Parliamentary oversight in the future
Food waste in the EU and the UK is clearly a huge issue. 15 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year equating to a financial loss to business of at least £5 billion per year. Environmentally, the carbon footprint of worldwide food waste is equivalent to twice the global greenhouse gas emission of all road transportation in the USA. The new European Commission, which will be appointed in November this year, should publish a five year strategy for reducing food waste across the EU, and do so within six months of taking office. There is also much that can be done domestically, and in particular by the big retailers, to reduce food waste. Supermarkets need to look again at offers such as 'buy one get one free', which can encourage excess consumption which leads to food waste. Supermarkets must also work much more closely with their suppliers so as not to cancel pre-ordered food which has been grown, is perfectly edible and is then ploughed straight back into the field. The UK Government has a role to play in encouraging cooperation throughout the supply chain. They can also consider whether tax incentives might be used to encourage retailers to ensure unsold food that is still fit for human consumption is actually eaten by people, for example by working with food banks, rather than sent to compost or for energy recovery, or even landfill, as is often the case at present
The myriad choices millions of people make every day over what food to buy and from where to buy it shape the nation's food production and supply systems. It is essential to harness these decisions to support the public policy goal of enabling all to access healthy and affordable food. Both supply and demand issues must be managed if a growing world population is to be fed at a time when environmental impacts, including those of climate change, are constraining food production. In this report the Committee make recommendations on managing consumer demand, such as by encouraging the purchase of sustainably sourced products or the most nutritious food in order to help to deliver environmental and health goals.
This report covers the work of the Committee and its sub-committees during the 2014-15 Session.