bunch of vegetables

Our Environment Fisheries & Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee report on Covid & food poverty highlights that 7.6 million people, including 1.7 million children in the UK go hungry each day with insufficient nutritious food.

This is a national tragedy and disgrace on our doorstep and the Government should act immediately on our recommendations to ensure sufficient food is provided for those in need whilst appointing a Minister for Food security and bringing forward proposals to enshrine the Right to Food.

As a proud Co-operative MP I know this is something that matters to our Party. The need to tackle hunger was a founding principle of our movement, and as we continue to campaign on this issue today and many of our recommendations echo the work the Co-operative Party is doing to tackle food injustice.

Britain, being the sixth richest country in the world, is shamed by allowing millions to go hungry each day. Surely no one voted for this as their vision of Brexit Britain. Our report highlights the need to feed children during school holidays and lockdown with food that meets higher standards of nutrition and value for money than the Government has previously managed.

Two thirds of those who have died from coronavirus have been disabled. The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to provide food security and safe shopping for the most vulnerable. In particular, in any future lockdown the government should ensure that those with disabilities are prioritised for home deliveries, where previously they have shopped in stores or may not have the money to reach minimum food delivery values required by retailers.

Vulnerable people including those with disabilities may not be digitally trained or connected and so the government should provide support to local authorities and the voluntary sector to enable safe, home deliveries of appropriate and chosen food. This should not reopen the doors for Conservative party donors to provide excessively expensive food that does not meet individual needs.

Our recommendations for the Right to Food accept that this must be set in the context of the right to other essentials of shelter and warmth which means that the social security system needs to provide enough money so that millions of families don’t have to make the daily choice between warmth and hunger.

The pandemic has hit us after years of austerity and as the economy stalls, and Brexit threatens food supply problems, the government must ensure that the National Food Strategy means that the millions of people now suffering daily food insecurity are given the support that they need.