The local election campaigns are underway as we build up to 6 May, with thousands of council seats up for grabs in over 143 local authorities and 13 directly elected Mayors. Now is the time to ensure good food is firmly on the agenda for candidates in your area.
What can councils do when it comes to food?
Food has become a more important issue over the last year. Covid-19 has exposed pre-existing structural inequalities and is pushing more people into food insecurity, threatening the viability of small food businesses, and increasing social isolation.
Councils provide many public services and have responsibility for some aspects of local food systems, including school meal provision, supplying food packages to the vulnerable, investing in local food infrastructure such as food markets, or making more areas available for community food growing.
Some councils have taken huge steps towards putting food at the heart of their plans, whether that is declaring a Right to Food, providing Free School Meals for children during school holidays, or placing restrictions on junk food avertising.
Food partnerships and the local elections
Sustain is calling on all candidates and parties to support their local food partnership or call for a new food partnership in their area if there is not one in place.
Food partnerships are a brilliant way to bring together citizens, local government, community groups, businesses, and academics to promote good food for all. They have played a key role in the emergency response to the pandemic (see coordinated responses across the UK on our website), helping to create town-wide food poverty action plans, and establishing council policies on restricting junk food advertising.
We have contacted candidates from all political parties from across the UK to pledge their support for a food partnership if they win the election. Last month, the Co-operative Party became the first political party to call for support to local food partnerships or set up ones where they don’t exist.
Tips on how to influence candidates to ensure good food shapes your community can be found on our local elections pages.
Sustain and Sustainable Food Places call for Food Partnership can be seen here in more detail.
Key dates for your diary
- Deadline for registering to vote in the local elections closes at 11:59 pm on 19 April. You can register to vote here.
- To find out who is running for each of the 13 Mayoral races and candidates for the local councils, visit https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/ or https://candidates.democracyclub.org.uk/elections/ .
Upcoming mayor hustings
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mayor Hustings – 20 April
- Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayor Hustings – 21 April
- West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor Hustings – 22 April
- Tees Valley Combined Authority Mayor Hustings – 22 April
- West of England Combined Authority Mayor Hustings – 28 April
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor Hustings- TBC
19 Apr 2021
Local elections: Amid a pandemic, economic downturn and a nature and climate emergency, elections are taking place for the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru and many local councils and combined authorities in England on May 6 2021.
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