Where we are now

Where we are now

Jay Raynor said in 'Saving Britain's Food Supply' “'If you can’t feed a country, you haven’t got a country.'"
Is there a Right to Food? "According to the UN, about 8.4 million people are currently suffering from food insecurity in the UK. To put it bluntly, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from". Food insecurity means , according to the UN, “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.”
There is a new phrase called 'Holiday Hunger' where 3 million children are at risk. Feeding Britain expects to feed 27,000 children in England this summer. "Kids’ clubs are stepping in to fill the gap and stop children going hungry during the school holidays, as families struggle with austerity ". Something we cant blame Brexit for - but in this day and age it is hard to believe.
Third of Universal Credit claimants hit by cuts to pay their rent arrears etc, driving them to Food banks. Government investigating whether their own plans are to blame.
Kings College analysis of 'Article 50 One year on' includes fisheries, (another version) rural sovereign fund, agricultural policy (another version), environment (another version)
Malnutrition Week
Universal Credit will mean Christmas is ‘a catastrophe’ for families, charities claim. New benefit claimants will need to wait till January ('19) for payments after final Scottish roll-out to Glasgow"
Scale of hunger "There is no single, nationwide Government measure for hunger in the UK "
Families can't afford to eat Eatwell Guidelines, according to Food Foundation, saying "the poorest fifth of homes with children would have to spend 42% of their disposable income".
Fruit & Hot dishes dropped from school menus as costs rise
MPs call for 'Minister for Hunger'. "MPs accused the Government of letting efforts to tackle malnutrition slip "between the cracks". "Government considering 'Food Hardship Fund'


From 'Just about managing' to 'Not quite making it'. It's Human Rights Day (Dec 10), 'make the right to food part of Scots law', says Pete Ritchie, Director of 'Nourish' Scotland. (He spoke with me at a Kindling/FEC Conference prior to the Referendum, when he said that 'our Brexit' referendum was being carried out in 2.5 months, whereas their Scottish one took 2.5 years and only then were they getting to the important matters. He said our Referendum would be dominated by cartoon characters. How right he was)
The recent report from UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston called out the UK Government for its “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach”.
Food bank use continues to rise, and behind this the Scottish Government’s figures on food insecurity show that worrying about not having enough to eat is now commonplace in our land of food and drink. Some 12% of single parent households ran out of food last year.

Food Banks

Trusell Trust map of those requiring 3 day emergency food packages. In the 1990s there were no food banks. They have increased as inequality in Britain has increased.
A quarter of parents in Leeds are less than a month away from not being able to put food on the table for their children. Around 180,000 people have admitted that they are struggling to afford food for their children and opt to go hungry themselves.Jacob Rees-Mogg PM (Minister for the 18th century) challenged to work in a Food Bank after saying they showed ‘a rather uplifting show of charity’. Adding ‘I don’t think the state can do everything’. It helps promote the ‘Big Society’ philosophy. Yet, you would think a modern day state, 6th largest in the world, could manage to feed people decently. Trying to explain why the number of Food Banks has risen so dramatically since the Tories came to power in 2010, Rees-Mogg said it was because the Job Centres direct people to them – that Labour had prevented. But Tressell Trust said that in 2016-7 only 5% referrals came from that source.
A lot of food in food banks is not what you would put on a 'healthy' list - it is often local manufacturers getting rid of excess bread, biscuits and tins. However there are initiatives to provide healthier food in food banks and for recipients to find out how to cook and eat better.
Liverpool Chef is determined to provide decent food for food banks "He doesn’t want to be dishing out charity. Most of all, he hates the food aid system and is trying to build an alternative to charity. He condemns food banks for serving “poor food to poor people..instead providing good healthy meals."
Understanding the health and well-being challenges of food baking and food poverty shows how they both exacerbate existing health problems and cause new ones.
1 in 10 pensioners malnourished with 'Meals on Wheels' under threat.
The tale that made a Tory MP cry
Food Bank as it is. The brutality of Food poverty - watch out for the play
7th Anniversary of Food bank in Amber Rudd's constituency. Amounts given out have more than doubled since introduction of Universal Credit. Their foodbank manager puts it this way: “What used to be our ceiling has now become our floor.”

Food Insecurity

The UN reckons that one in ten Brits do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Food Insecurity Bill Second Reading February to require government to monitor and report on 'food insecurity'Dramatic increase in fast food outlets near schools. "The number of fast food outlets within five minutes’ walk of a school gate has increased by 67 per cent in the last eight years "
Under new rules for Universal Credit, children of people earning more than £7,500/yr will not be entitled to free school meals in the future. Labour said this will amount to about 1.1 million children loosing out, while the government claimed it would benefit an extra 50,000 (through Means Testing). They say that not one child will have a free meal taken away, but that in future, others may not be eligible. The Tories scrapped their manifesto pledge to cut free school meals for primary schools pupils.
Environmental Audit Committee says "Food insecurity levels in the UK are among the worst – if not the worst– in Europe, especially for children." Nearly 1 in 10 people in the UK are food insecure. "The scale of the problem of food insecurity and poverty in the UK can be illustrated by the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme poverty and Human Rights at the end of last year. he said "One actor has stubbornly resisted seeing the situation for what it is. The Government has remained determinedly in a state of denial."

Household Food Insecurity Bill aims to create a measurement of household food insecurity

Food Poverty

Food poverty campaign update highlights The End Hunger coalition, of which Sustain is a member, have launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister to fix Universal Credit.
Children's Future Food Inquiry An estimated 4.1 million children are living in poverty in the UK, but we do not know how many children experience food insecurity and how it impacts their lives. At the same time children are suffering from record levels of obesity and it is worst in the poorest parts of the country. This inquiry wants to hear about children's experiences.
Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan is "made up of over 100 people and organisations, including many with lived experience of food poverty, working towards a concerted strategic response to food poverty in our city region. "

Fast Food

We hear a lot about 'food security', and often the impression given is that all we have to do to improve that is to produce more food. Yet food security for many people nowadays involves where their next meal is coming from. We do not need to produce more food to deal with that. There are massive amounts of food thrown away. The deeper issue is that people cannot afford to buy or the time to cook healthier food.
England's poorest areas are fast food hotspots. Shame PHE is giving the old nutritional advice 'reduce fats' when now shown to be false - the trouble is with refined carbohydrates and sugars. SEE Obesity Chapter.

Processed Foods

A study of 19 countries has found that the UK has the most ultra- processed food per household amounting to over 50% of dietary energy. "A significant positive association was found between national household availability of ultra-processed foods and national prevalence of obesity among adults..each percentage point increase in this availability resulted in an increase of 0·25 percentage points in obesity prevalence." More See Obesity Chapter.


Austerity and Food Sovereignty "The focus on food producers and rural areas also draws attention to an overlooked aspect of Greece’s crisis as these sectors and regions often lack voice and recognition in national politics and decision-making."

Farmers applied for 171% more support from RABI in last year. Brexit and Bad weather puts farmers at increased risk of suicide (usually one/week)