Ministers unveil new £4.8m UK aid fund to protect high street supply chains hit by coronavirus
The fund will be used to protect supply chains abroad
Ministers have unveiled plans to spend almost £5m of UK aid on protecting supply chains serving British high street firms hit by the impact of Covid-19.
The new project - which will also get a further £2m investment from British businesses - will be used to help high street firms protect foreign supply chains affected by the pandemic.
The new 'Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility' will see UK businesses, including Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Primark works with advisers from organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and Ethical Trading Initiative to try to improve working conditions and boost access to healthcare for workers worldwide.
Around 20% of UK food and drink is imported from developing countries, but ministers warned that many factories and farms around the world had been forced to close as a result of the pandemic.
Announcing the funding, International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "We want to ensure people in Britain can continue to buy affordable, high quality goods from around the world.
"This new fund will strengthen vital supply chains for UK consumers, while supporting some of the most vulnerable workers in developing countries. It will make a real difference to people in the UK and abroad."
The cash will also be used to support the Ethical Trading Initiative, which oversees companies' supply chains, to produce safer working conditions for an estimated 10,000 African workers.
Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury's Brand, added: "We are proud to support DFID's Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility along with the Ethical Trading Initiative, dedicated to improving occupational safety and health standards for many of our suppliers in East Africa.
"As a responsible retailer, this works further demonstrates our commitment to trading ethically and making a positive difference to the communities we source from."