A food charity which campaigns for a sustainable food system which delivers health and well-being for all has recently produced a 4 point plan for the cost of living crisis. With inflation running at 9.4% (consumer price index for June) and the rate is expected to rise past 13 % in the coming months, The Food Foundation’s (https://foodfoundation.org.uk/ ) plan is very timely.
It points out that food and non-alcoholic drinks prices rose by 6.7% between April 2021 and April 2022, while household food insecurity rates between October 2021 and April 2022 were 60% higher than during the first six months of the Covid pandemic.
To help everyone to eat well during the cost of living crisis the food charity calls on the government to:
* Increase incomes to help everyone pay essential bills. Increase working age benefits in line with inflation and ensure that employers are paying at lease the real living wage (https://www.livingwage.org.uk/news/real-living-wage-increases-%C2%A39.90-uk-and-%C2%A311.05-london-cost-living-rises )
* Provide safety nets to protect children. Expand free school meals, school breakfast provision and Healthy Start so all children in poverty benefit, protecting them from obesity and food insecurity.
* Make healthy food more affordable. Explore using taxes and subsidies to rebalance prices of healthy and unhealthy foods in the Health Disparities White Paper (and see: https://www.nhsconfed.org/publications/health-disparities-white-paper )
* Commit to a new Good Food Bill. Help everyone to cope better with the next food emergency by putting in place a long term plan to build the resilience of our food system and our citizens. Include a Good Food Bill in the Food Strategy White Paper (and see: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/government-s-food-strategy-white-paper-is-a-missed-opportunity.html).
Meanwhile the Food Foundation’s flagship Broken Plate 2022 report documents the health of our food system, and explores why we must change the food environment so that it delivers healthy and sustainable diets for everyone, everywhere.
Melanie Fryer ACE’s Food group lead writes:
Many of the issues to address food security are often not on the agenda, but they are absolutely vital.
Key questions to consider about food security in the UK:
* Is UK farming diverse enough to feed its people a healthy diet in times of crisis?
* How do we build on the great examples of more resilient local and direct food supply networks springing up everywhere and help them persist beyond the crisis?
* Is our food system undermining food security by making crises such as pandemics, droughts and pollinator extinctions more likely? (The Soil Association).
Locally we are working towards a food system that is healthy, resilient and fair.
Picture: The Food Foundation.
(Send your comments to: acesettleandarea at gmail.com (replace at with @)