The Mayor is inviting feedback on his draft London Health Inequalities Strategy by midnight Thursday 30th November. This is your chance to ensure good food is on London's policy agenda.
The strategy has set out the Mayor’s priorities covering healthy children, healthy places, healthy communities and healthy habits. Food, as well as being a major cause of diet related disease and a financial burden on the NHS, can be the route through which to solve these and other issues outlined in the strategy, and many other Mayoral priorities, such as improving the environment and economy.
While we welcome many of the objectives set out by the Mayor, London Food Link believes that the detail of this strategy could go much further and there is a huge opportunity within this statutory strategy to incorporate food policy and initiatives to tackle London’s health inequalities.
Have your say
There’s three things we'd love you to do:
1. Send Sadiq a letter (it’s easy we’ve already drafted one)
2. Tweet the Mayor
Care about the health of Londoners? Urge @MayorofLondon to put food at the heart of his policies bit.ly/2k4pSyr #FeedTheCity
3. Submit a formal response to the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy consultation. Whether you're responding as an individual or organisation, we would love you to echo our main suggestions below about what's missing. Deadline Friday 30 November.
They are encouraging people to answer specific questions but there is also an option to upload an additional document. If you want to go into more detail please feel free to reinforce any elements that you agree with from the detailed response we have drafted.
Overall we think that the Mayor could be more ambitious on food and diet within this strategy, particularly by going beyond his legal responsibilities to his wider leadership role for the Capital. He can play a huge role in dealing with two of the biggest issues we face in London right now, alleviating food poverty and tackling childhood obesity. We believe that at the root of both of these is the need to make sure that good food is as affordable, accessible and well promoted as bad food, if not more so. The healthy sustainable choice needs to be easier if we are to see a dramatic shift in our diets and food system that will tackle the problems outlined in the strategy.
We are pleased that the strategy recognises and references the importance of the food strategy, but we would like to see key actions from the food strategy included here as well i.e. in a statutory strategy, in order to ensure implementation. Beyond this, we would like to see specific commitments to tackle the following:
1. Tackle holiday hunger as part of securing children’s access to food 365 days a year. The Mayor has a real opportunity to improve people’s lives with a coordinated plan for weaving good food into holiday food provision.
2. Focus on secondary schools Whilst much has been done to improve school food, it has focused largely on primary, and a new approach targeting teenagers, championed by the Mayor could really improve childhood obesity.
3. Improve Meals on Wheels and food for older people The Mayor’s leadership could rally this neglected sector to make more efficient use of local council budgets and relieve the burden of malnutrition and social isolation on the NHS, with better coordination and collaboration between London boroughs.
4. Promote levies on the price of junk food/junk food marketing. The proceeds of this could be redistributed to promote alternative healthy choices. This could build on the City Hall café being the first Government building to sign up to the voluntary Sugary Drinks Tax (raising money for the Children’s Health Fund). This could be more widely promoted, with similar levies explored on junk food advertising on GLA family/TFL property.
5. Ensure the planning system is prioritising good food London could lead the world in restricting junk food outlets/promotion, and ensuring that new developments embed the alternatives e.g. community food growing, water refill/fountains, healthy food retail.
6. Ensure widespread access to tap water in public places Through community crowdfunding, corporate partnerships, and levies above, a new wave of water fountains/refill points could sweep the capital, providing an environmentally friendly alternative to sugary drinks – the largest contributor of sugar in children’s diets.
7. Join/promote the SUGAR SMART campaign to reduce sugar in organisations and businesses with a London-wide presence and reach out to more Londoners about the dangers of too much sugar.
This response has been drafted by the London Food Link team at Sustain. To support our work as the voice for good food in London, please join us.
Published 21 Nov 2017
London Food Link: This is the umbrella for all of Sustain's initiatives in London. Our work includes helping to influence local government policy, hands-on food growing training, running sessions for public sector caterers, creating guidance for independent eateries and food producers, public awareness campaigns, and joining the dots between people around specific food issues. The LFL supporter network is open to everyone who grows, produces, teaches, peddles, promotes and simply enjoys good food in the capital.
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