Sunday, 23 December 2012

Food poverty in the UK is far too high

Food poverty in the UK is far too high – in 2012 this should not be the case. I am shocked on a daily basis at the rise in food banks, and the reports I hear from parents and teachers about the numbers of children who go to school hungry. As an indication of the scale of the problem, in 2011, the amount of food distributed by food charity FareShare contributed to more than 8.6 million meals, feeding around 36,500 people each day.

The Trussell Trust estimates that they will have to feed 230,000 people in the coming year – double the amount between 2011-12.

I am joining the calls from Labour to encourage supermarkets and major food retailers to donate more of their edible food to charity rather than send it to landfill. At this time of year particularly, a small amount of effort could both reduce the shocking amount of food that is wasted and help people who are in genuine need of food handouts.

Currently only 1-3%o of retail food waste is donated to charity.

However this is a sticking plaster on a much more serious problem. The Coalition Government has presided over a double dip recession, and is currently presiding over a cost of living crisis in the UK. Wages have stagnated or in some cases been reduced, people are able to work fewer hours and those who are in genuine need of benefits are having them reduced.