NEWS / Food Poverty

London councils show mixed progress on action to reduce food poverty

The latest report from our London Food Poverty Campaign shows 'mixed progress' by London's 33 councils taking action to reduce the food insecurity that affects two million vulnerable Londoners.

The annual Beyond the Food Bank: London's Food Poverty Profile report, now in its fifth year, provides a comprehensive picture of what London boroughs are doing to reduce long-term food poverty and to improve incomes and access to good food for vulnerable people. Using a survey and other performance data, we rank London's councils in a league table based on their implementation of 10 practical actions.

The report measures performance on actions taken, such as adoption of food poverty action plans, promotion of Healthy Start vouchers, and implementation of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative that promotes breastfeeding. London councils have this year shown marked improvements on taking action on these measures.

Conversely, London borough performance on vital life-line services such as tackling holiday hunger and Meals on Wheels remains poor; with only 5 boroughs out of 33 in the capital providing funding for holiday food provision and only 6 providing significant support to vulnerable and housebound people via a meals on wheel service.

The results come in the wake of a recently commissioned Greater London Authority (GLA) survey that revealed that almost two million Londoners – of which an estimated 400,000 are children under 16 – struggle to afford or access enough food. It also follows evidence from the Food Foundation that many children live in households for which a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable.

Lailah Nesbitt-Ahmed, coordinator of the London Food Poverty Campaign, said:

“We have seen some improvements in coordinated approaches to tackling food poverty in London. Yet this progress must not distract from the very real fact that food poverty still remains a serious issue in the capital, as statistics from the Greater London Authority and the Trussell Trust food bank network clearly show. Last year, Trussell Trust food banks handed out 166,512 parcels in London alone -  making our city the third highest area receiving emergency food parcels in the UK. This must serve as a stark reminder that a lot of Londoners lack the resources to meet their basic human needs. Nobody should have to go to bed hungry, and London councils can do much more to prevent this."

ENDS

For more information please contact

Lailah Nesbitt-Ahmed – lailah@sustainweb.org – 020 3559 6777 / 07714 282859

Notes

  1. Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level.
  2. The Beyond the Food Bank report assesses London local authorities against 10 measures of activities. The London Food Poverty Campaign and Beyond the Food bank report is funded by Trust for London, with additional support from the Mayor of London. The 2019 report will be published at a launch event in City Hall on 30 October 2019. For more information on our work on food poverty in London please see https://www.sustainweb.org/foodpoverty/london/.
  3. Five boroughs did not respond to the Beyond the Food Bank survey. These are the boroughs at the bottom of the table on page 5 of the Beyond the Food Bank report. 28 out of 33 boroughs responded to this year’s survey, which is an increase by four from last year.
  4. The report will be launched on 30 October 2019 in London’s Living Room at City Hall, along with its sister publication, Good Food for London. The full league table and interactive borough maps are available online as well as in PDF format.

16/10/2019
Food Poverty

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Food Poverty: Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. Sustain is working with communities, third-sector organisations, local authorities and government, aiming to make sure everyone can eat well.

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