Last week Emma asked the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food about the potential effect of Brexit on food prices and again pressed for the Government to properly measure the levels of hunger in the country. This is following the news that food prices rose at their fastest rate for more than three years in March following global commodity hikes and the impact of Brexit on the pound. More alarmingly, the trend in increasing food prices is estimated to continue over the next few months which will devastate the estimated 8.4 million people in the country facing food insecurity. The Minister said that there had been a modest increase in the past year, this is totally at odds with the Office for National Statistics evidence which refers to the increase as being the highest in three years. You can read Emma’s question and the Minister’s poor response here.
The Food Standards Agency recently reported that a staggering one in four low-income households struggle to eat regularly or healthily because of a lack of money. This Government’s failed austerity programme and lack of investment in jobs and growth coupled with a punitive welfare reform programme has affected people right across society – from the elderly who cannot afford to eat, to young children at school, whose performance is being impacted upon by hunger and malnourishment.
Today the APPG on Hunger which Emma is an active member of published their ‘Hungry Holidays’ report, it found that around 3 million children are facing hunger during the school holidays, affecting their health, their educational attainment and overall life chances. The report cites evidence of children returning to class after holidays “malnourished, sluggish and dreary”. The report also contains recommendations for the introduction of universal free school meals across the board – a provision that will be delivered by the next Labour government. You can read the report here.
Emma has consistently campaigned and put pressure on the Government to address the growing levels of hunger in our country. Including recently leading a debate on this issue in Westminster Hall, more details can be found here.
Speaking after the debate and publication of the APPG on Hungers most recent report, Emma said “Since 2010 the Tories have not only ignored growing hunger in their watch, they have actively initiated policies to increase levels of hunger and poverty. It is a sickening indictment of any Government when millions are going hungry, and when faced with the facts and evidence to substantiate the levels of hunger they continue to remain ignorant.”