James Butler Regional Organiser (East Midlands, West Midlands and South West) 12th March 2019 Blog Communities, Housing & Local Government Public Services Share Tweet 8 million people in the UK have trouble putting food on the table. Over 500,000 people used food banks last year. Around 10% of the NHS budget goes on treating Type 2 Diabetes. Over 1 million people live in food deserts. There is something very wrong. The Co-operative Party’s new campaign seeks to achieve food justice by campaigning for change nationally and locally. Our aim is to tackle hunger and ensure everyone in the UK is able to make healthy food choices. There can be no doubt that the causes of rising hunger are rooted in austerity; Universal Credit, the benefits cap and freeze, the bedroom tax. But also in our dysfunctional economy that no longer provides a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work for too many; and our broken housing market. We believe that the long-term solution to tackling hunger at home is the incorporation of the second Sustainable Development Goal (sometimes known as the ‘Global Goals’) into a domestic law through a Food Bill in England and in Scotland. Additionally, we want to see a commitment to delivering food justice in the new ‘national milestones’ in Wales. Each of the governments in the UK could send out a powerful signal that no one should go hungry in the 6th richest economy in the world. Whilst many of the solutions to food poverty are the responsibility of our national governments, there is local action that can make a real difference. So, we are encouraging councils to commit to playing their part in achieving food justice by taking some simple steps: designating a ‘lead member’ with responsibility for food, setting up a food action plan, working with or helping establish a local food partnership, and measuring the scale of the problem in their area. Sign up to the campaign here Achieving food justice and tackling hunger is a huge endeavour and is certainly one which is far beyond what the Co-operative Party alone can achieve. Rooted in austerity and our dysfunctional economy, it will require profound, long-term, concerted change. But the good news is that there is a huge amount of work already going on in councils, communities, churches, charities, the business community and of course the herculean efforts of the food banks and their army of incredible volunteers. Our co-operative movement grew out of a fundamental belief that the ordinary working people of Britain should have access to decent, affordable food as the stepping stone to a decent life. Today some of the fundamentals that we thought we could take for granted; food, decent work, a place to call home, are no longer a given for too many families in our country. We need to work to restore common decency for all and that starts with the fight for food justice. Help us to make it happen.