Industry has today begun weighing up how the new Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government might alter prospects for the health food trade.
Whilst key Cabinet positions have been announced — including Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary — the full ministerial line-up is unlikely to be know for a couple of days.
Sue Croft , director of Consumers for Health Choice, told NP: “It’s too early to be able to make any detailed assessment. But I think we can safely say this industry shouldn’t be disappointed at the overall outcome. We are also extremely fortunate in having some very good friends in the new Government in both the Conservative and Liberal parties.”
Leading political affairs expert, Chris Whitehouse, added: “At this point in time we are still awaiting the really key appointment of the minister responsible for the working of the Food Standards Agency.
“We know that Andrew Lansley is to be Health Secretary, and that suggests no fundamental change in policy. But we still have yet to learn of the details of an additional four to five junior ministerial posts. I think it’s fair to say if Mike Penning is one of them we would be pleased, since we have worked with him closely on the issue of the Food Supplements Directive. If one of these posts goes to the Lib-Dems it’s possible it will go to Normal Lamb, the Liberals’ health spokesperson who co-sponsored CHC’s House of Commons Reception. Again, a good result.
“In around 48 hours we should know the full picture. Rest assured, we will very promptly be resuming the dialogue we had with Conservatives in Opposition.”
Speaking on behalf of health food retailers, Avril McCracken of the NAHS said: “We can only hope that the Conservatives will support our industry as they indicated they would prior to the election and not be swayed by the pro-european Liberals when it comes to EU Legislation.”
Meanwhile, new HFMA chair Martin Last said: “Given the strong support for our industry that both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat shadow health ministers have declared and the very positive recent meetings we have had with them, we welcome the outcome of the recent negotiations to form a new government. Senior HFMA officials met earlier today to discuss the political strategy going forward, and we will be advising members on potential action they can take as soon as the full list of government appointments, including that of the Minister for Public Health, is known.”