Beyond the Food Bank: London Food Poverty Profile 2015

Beyond the Food Bank is London’s first comprehensive food poverty profile. The new report from Sustain’s London Food Link looks at what local authorities are doing to help the most vulnerable access good food.

21/10/2015
Food Poverty
22pp - 2015

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The report focuses on initiatives that help put more money in the pockets of those in need (healthy start vouchers, breastfeeding, living wage, free school meals, along with breakfast clubs and holiday meal provision), and those that help provide access to affordable, healthy food (improving physical access and supporting meals on wheels).

The report exposes significant gaps in the safety net, which contribute to high rates of food poverty among vulnerable Londoners:

  • Ten London boroughs no longer offer a meals on wheels service, which provides healthy meals for vulnerable and isolated older people at risk of malnutrition.
  • Vital schemes like Healthy Start  -- which provide vouchers for fruit and vegetables that increase young families’ food budgets by 14-25% – are under-enrolled.  More than 1 in 4 eligible London mothers and children are not receiving these vouchers.
  • Some 1.5 million children nationally are currently disqualified from receiving because their parents receive tax credits to top up their low wage work. There are an estimated 220,000 London pupils living below the poverty line who are not enrolled in Free School Meals. That means 18%, or one in five London pupils, are at risk of hunger during the school day.
  • Over half a million children in London will struggle for food during school holidays.
  • 64% of London boroughs do not guarantee employees a London Living Wage

This report shows what local authorities can do, and in some cases are already doing to close these gaps. Alleviating long term food poverty requires action to reduce inequality, preserve a strong safety net and build resilient communities where good food is available to all.

 

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.