We’re all too aware of the challenges rising costs have on our food shop.  The creeping rise in bills and fuel mean that what we choose to buy in the supermarket, is often where we try to make compromises and savings.  This is easier said than done.  There is only so far we can go trying to save a few quid here and there before it’s clear: to still have a balanced and healthy diet, you can’t save any more on your grocery bill.

It was said last winter and it will be just as relevant this winter: there are families that are going to have to choose between heating their homes and eating properly.  This is a travesty in any country, and in particular in the 6th largest economy in the world – where Prime Minister’s fly in their private jets and have the local energy grid upgraded to heat their private swimming pool.

The compromises families are making on their food bill are leading to fewer food items being purchased and more unhealthy choices being made, and the data shows this.  10% of the NHS budget is now spent on treating Type 2 Diabetes. Half a million people in the United Kingdom used a food bank in the last year. Read that again: half a million. There needs to be food justice.

As the Chair of my local Labour Party (Hinckley and Bosworth CLP in Leicestershire), I took on addressing this challenge in our area with our Labour and Co-operative Councillors to see what we could do locally to make a difference, to instil co-operative values in our work and communities.

We held a collection for a local food bank at one of our meetings, which received a heart-warming level of support from our members.  The Co-op Party met with myself and the councillors to discuss how we can build on our work, and we shall be taking a motion to the next full council meeting to ensure that the local authority promotes schemes like Healthy Start, so that the most vulnerable to food scarcity and malnourishment in our society know of the support available to them.  We will push the council to adopt a ‘Food Champion’ to ensure this approach is built into best practice.  Furthermore, we will continue to solidify our relationship with the Co-op Party by inviting a guest speaker to future meetings, to show how our work is making a difference.

We will go from strength to strength in taking our co-operative values to our community, to ensure fairness and justice is available for all.