Food poverty is reaching crisis point up and down the country, including here in the North East.
- The North East has the second highest rate of child poverty in the UK at 35% (behind London at 39%). This includes the UK’s biggest increase in child poverty from 2014/15 to 2018/19 (rising from 26% to 35%). All 12 North East councils are included in the 20 UK local authority areas which saw the highest increases in child poverty from 2014/15 to 2018/19.
- Northumberland has seen a 62% rise in people claiming out of work benefits since the beginning of the pandemic, from 6,790 in March to 11,000 in December.
- The number of children eligible for free school meals in Northumberland has increased by 18% in six months, rising from 7,473 in March to 8,818 in October.
- The Trussell Trust reported a soaring 81% increase in emergency food parcels from foodbanks in its network during the last two weeks of March 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children as the coronavirus pandemic continued to unfold.
As a result, I am inviting you to support the ’Right to Food’ campaign, which aims to the enshrine the ‘Right to Food’ into law.
Enshrining the ‘Right to Food’ into law would clarify Government obligations on food poverty and introduce legal avenues to hold Government bodies accountable for violations. By way of illustration, the introduction of a legal ‘Right to Food’ would by necessity end the five-week wait for Universal Credit and would mean that Premiership footballers are not required to shame Government into feeding hungry children during school holidays.
Sign my open letter to Henry Dimbleby, chair of the National Food Strategy team, asking for the ‘Right to Food’ to be incorporated into the Government’s ‘National Food Strategy’, which is the first independent review of England’s entire food system for 75 years with the aim of identifying the food system we should be building for the future with a plan for how to achieve that vision.
Click here to sign.