On 2nd February next year Emma’s Food Insecurity Bill will have its second reading in Parliament. On the 29th of November, Emma introduced a Bill that seeks to place a duty on the relevant Secretary of State to routinely and robustly measure levels of food insecurity in the UK.
As a former member of the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee, a member of the APPG on Hunger and a Trustee of Feeding Britain, Emma has been calling for this measurement for a number of years.
Because a problem that is not properly understood cannot be properly addressed, we know that in June this year, new figures from UNICEF reported that 10% of children in the UK are living in households affected by severe food insecurity – the highest rates of child food insecurity in Europe.
We know that food bank usage in the UK has risen rapidly in the last 5 years and that holiday provision is increasing around the country to tackle poor diets.
We know that in 2016 a survey by the Food Standards Agency revealed that a third of those households on the lowest income quartile ‘often or sometimes worried about running out of food before there was money to buy more’
We also know that estimates from the United Nations in 2014 suggest that as many as 8 million households in the UK are food insecure.
We know that there are now record levels of people in work and in poverty.
We know that hospital admissions for malnutrition are rising.
What we don’t know though is exactly how many people are going hungry, who can’t afford to eat, or how many people are worrying about where their next meal is coming from. This Bill will give us that data and would be the first step towards Government rectifying punitive policy decisions and implementing policies to stem the growing tide of hunger.
This Bill is likely to be cost neutral to introduce, there are no reasons to block it at all. If the Government do then they are confirming what we all suspected – that Theresa May’s words on the steps of Downing Street about the ‘burning injuctice[s]’ in this country ring as hollow now as they did then.
You can read Emma’s speech introducing the Bill here : https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-11-29/debates/CBDC9A1F-1EC2-4E68-AB52-6BCF8B92662F/FoodInsecurity
You can view a copy of the Bill here : https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/foodinsecurity.html
Emma’s Bill was covered in the press here :http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/what-food-insecurity-big-issue-13988645
Speaking after introducing the Bill, Emma said ‘I would like to thank the Food Foundation for all of their support in getting the Bill to this stage, between now and February I will be asking more colleagues to join the 40 plus MPs who have already pledged their support. Together we can end hunger UK’.