Our election results in the local elections were stunningly good, a strong endorsement of our first year in office. We’ve now been given an outright majority on Trafford Council for the first time since 2002 and as Leader of a Labour Council, I am determined to pursue an agenda which addresses the needs of Trafford residents.

Blessed with a strong economy, there is a lot which is right about Trafford but like every other area we have our fair share of challenges. One of those is increasing food poverty. It’s with a mixture of sadness, anger and gratitude that I see Trafford Housing Trust is looking to support projects combatting holiday hunger over the summer break: sadness and anger because of the need, and gratitude that THT is stepping up to help. And judging by Trafford South’s food bank’s donation asks, hunger isn’t limited to holidays for many. The list of foods they are currently asking for contains many household staples including tinned tomatoes, tinned fruit, tinned vegetables, instant mash, tinned meat and fish.

It’s simply not right that in one of the richest countries in the world people are going hungry. We desperately need a change of government at a national level, but I’m determined to do what we can to deliver food justice in Trafford right now. I’ve clarified the Community and Partnership’s portfolio holder’s responsibilities to include tackling food poverty so that we have a strong political and corporate focus on addressing this growing crisis.
Since taking charge of the Council as a minority administration last May, we’ve been working to develop a comprehensive Poverty Strategy for the Borough – something sadly missing under Tory rule. There are so many strands to this that are hitting the news at present: child poverty, period poverty and of course food poverty among others. We have a responsibility to respond to these challenges, and that’s why I’ve taken the decision to increase political oversight on tackling food poverty. From the Council’s AGM onwards, we’ll have a single designated lead member who can work with community and voluntary organisations to provide a more coherent response to food poverty in the Borough.

It’s a modest step, but one which I hope will be welcomed by those working on the ground, and it’s one of the asks of the Co-operative Party’s food justice campaign. Importantly, it will help our new Labour Council deliver for Trafford residents.