A new report from Sustain member the Food Foundation, released as part of the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign spearheaded by Marcus Rashford, provides further evidence that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK’s most vulnerable populations and that the problem of household food insecurity continues to be at crisis levels.
Headline statistics from the report are:
- Food insecurity remains higher than pre-Covid levels affecting an estimated 4.7 million adults (9% of households) over the last six months. This compares to pre-Covid levels of 7.6%.
- 55% of those experiencing food insecurity (an estimated 2.5 million adults) said it was because they did not have enough money for food, 31% said it was due to isolation, 23% said it was lack of access and supply and 8% cited other reasons in the last six months.
- Despite government’s financial support schemes and the Universal Credit £20 uplift, 22% of households have experienced a drop in income since Feb 2020.
- Households with children have higher levels of food insecurity compared to those without. An estimated 2.3 million children live in households that have experienced food insecurity in the past 6 months (12% of households with children).
- The situation is even worse in households with children on Free School Meals. 41% have reported food insecurity in the past 6 months.
The report urges government to make food security a priority in recovery planning and move away from short-term solutions, food banks and emergency food aid. The three key recommendations in the report are:
- An urgent review of Free School Meals: prioritising ensuring the eligibility threshold does not exclude any disadvantaged children from accessing a healthy meal.
- Businesses should pay at least the Real Living Wage and the Government should make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent.
- Designate authority in government to be responsible for monitoring and tackling food insecurity.
Published 2 Mar 2021
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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