Home Knowsley Council Taking action to tackle food poverty

Taking action to tackle food poverty

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley Council is backing the Right to Food campaign and calling on the Government to make access to food a legal right for everyone.

At this week’s Council meeting, Knowsley Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care Cllr Sean Donnelly proposed a Notice of Motion calling for the ‘Right to Food’ to be included in the National Food Strategy.

This comes as the past year has seen a 150% increase in the number of Knowsley households seeking help from foodbanks, and a 70% rise in the number of families on Universal Credit.

Led by Henry Dimbleby, the National Food Strategy, is the first independent review of England’s food system for 75 years. It will set out how our food system should work and make its recommendations to the Government this year.

The Right to Food campaign argues that the 11 million people in food poverty should be central to the strategy and enshrining the ‘Right to Food’ into law would clarify the Government’s legal obligations on food poverty and make Government bodies accountable for violations.

The Knowsley Council motion states: “We are seeing a crisis of food poverty born out of the political choices and systemic failings created over the past four decades, which have now reached a tipping point for so many in our communities. The figures are devastating for one of the richest nations in the world and highlight the inequality of the UK in 2021.

“This Council notes the consistent high rates of poverty across our Borough.  We recognise the growing concern amongst our health and care professionals of the current situation and the likely exacerbation of poverty figures through the impact of the COVID19 pandemic and economic uncertainty in 2021.”

Cllr Donnelly added: “Last year, the pandemic compounded existing financial pressures on local people.  Pressures which are often driven by national policy decisions – and disproportionately impact areas like Knowsley.

“We are standing alongside the ‘Right to Food’ campaign – in calling for those facing food poverty to be central to the National Food Strategy, and for the Government to be accountable for its obligations to the 11 million people in food poverty, and enshrine the ‘Right to Food’ into law.”