Budget reaction: Yorkshire's regional food group concerned over public spending cuts

Public sector cuts - announced in this week's emergency budget - could affect food producers as local food buyers will have less cash.

This is the concern of Jonathan Knight - chief executive of The Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber - an organisation which represents one of the UK’s key growing areas.

Knight said: "Delaying the 2.5% VAT increase until January 2011 should encourage consumer sales momentum in the run up to Christmas, which will help the food and drink sector, especially independent retailers and producers.

"However, it is set to be a difficult time ahead regarding public sector cuts, with possible knock-on effects for the regional food and drink sector as average local food buyers will have less disposable income.

He added: "There has been no clarity on the specific support to businesses in the region, besides the creation of a Regional Growth Fund from 2011, and some loud hints that RDAs will need to transform into some form of Local Enterprise Partnerships in order to continue their business development functions-this detail is eagerly awaited.

"In the meantime, The RFG continues with a full programme of support events for our members, showcasing and championing our great regional produce. In addition, we are launching the 2010 Guide to the region's food and drink businesses, which will be available in regional retailers and from our website, and already planning for the highly acclaimed 'deliciouslyorkshire' Awards later this year."

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