Liverpool has this evening become the UK’s first ‘Right To Food’ city after a motion was unanimously passed by Liverpool City Council calling for the ‘Right To Food’ to be incorporated into the Government’s ‘National Food Strategy’ and subsequently to become law.
The National Food Strategy is the first independent review of England’s entire food system for 75 years, led by British businessman and cookery writer Henry Dimbleby. It next reports to Government in Spring and the Right To Food campaign wants the 11 million people currently living in food poverty in the UK to be placed at the heart of its strategy.
The motion was moved on behalf of the Right To Food campaign, led by Liverpool-based national grassroots football fan network Fans Supporting Foodbanks and backed in Parliament by Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne, a co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks.
Liverpool is the UK’s first “Right To Food city” to formally back the campaign with many more towns and cities now set to follow suit. The campaign believes that a change in the law is needed to ensure that people do not go hungry any longer and to hold the Government to account for their failings.
The motion noted the consistently high rates of poverty across the city of Liverpool and recognised the growing concern amongst the city’s health and social care professionals over the current situation and the likely exacerbation of poverty through the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty in 2021.
As Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby and one of the original co-founders of Fans Supporting 0Foodbanks, Ian Byrne MP is all too aware of the perilous situation faced by so many in our communities. He is throwing his weight behind the Right To Food campaign and in December tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament on Food Insecurity which has secured the support of more than fifty MPs so far.
Tonight I am both sad and proud that our great city of Liverpool is the first city in the UK to callfor the ‘Right to Food’ to be included firstly into the National Food Strategy and then into legislation.
Given how many people in the city will benefit from the change in law we want to achieve, it is entirely fitting that Liverpool is the first ‘Right To Food city’ to formally back the campaign, but people right across the UK are going hungry and this is a national campaign to change the law for all of them.
He continued:From April to October 2020 in Liverpool there were 10,296 Urgent Needs Awards (emergency cash awards to low-income households for essentials such as food and fuel) – an increase of 56% on the same period in 2019/20.
Department of Work and Pensions data reports that households on Universal Credit in Liverpool increased from 30,700 in February 2020 to 58,500 by October 2020 – that is a 90.5% increase.
And the Trussell Trust reported a massive 81% increase in emergency food parcels from foodbanks in its network during the last two weeks of March 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children as the coronavirus pandemic continued to unfold.
The figures above are simply devastating for one of the richest nations in the world and they highlight the level of inequality in the UK in 2021. It is my belief that this crisis has been born out of political choices and systemic failings over the past four decades which have now reached a tipping point for so many in our
Dave Kelly, Chair and co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks, agreed:
Make no mistake, if we canlegislate to make access to food a legal right in the UK it will mean an end to many of the situations thatforce people into food poverty at present and crucially it will make Government legally responsible forensuring people do not go hungry.
For example, we would see an end to the five-week wait for UniversalCredit and the Government would be legally responsible for ensuring that school children who receive freeschool meals during term time are catered for during school holidays – without Premiership footballershaving to shame them into doing so.
Kelly sees it as appropriate that Liverpool is the inaugural ‘Right To Food city’:
Given the city’s history of coming together to look after those who need support, it is no surprise to me that Liverpool is the UK’s first ‘Right To Food city’. The people of Liverpool support the vulnerable and expect any Government tobe held accountable for its actions.
Kelly also acknowledges the impressive support the Right To Food campaign has received already:
We are delighted to have received fantastic support from both Everton and Liverpool football clubs, many localbusinesses, trade unions, local MPs and councillors and we would like to sincerely thank them all for backingthe Right To Food campaign so far. is important to note that this is a national campaign.
Tonight, we have seen a significantmilestone reached with the formal endorsement from our first ‘Right To Food city’ in Liverpool and given the vast support and interest we are receiving from around the country I am sure we will now see similarmotions passed in councils right across the UK, calling for the Right To Food to become part of the National Food Strategy and then law.
The Right To Food campaign is a national campaign that everyone is invited to be a part of. There are several ways you can join the campaign.
- Sign the Parliamentary Petition. People across the UK are invited to sign and share the Official Right To Food petition on the UK Government and Parliamentary website. The petition was moved by the Fans Supporting Foodbanks National Network under the name of its Chair, Dave Kelly, with co-signatories from Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and London. You can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/562838
- Ask your MP to support Ian Byrne MP’s Early Day Motion (EDM) #1251 on Food Insecurity / the Right To Food: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57840
- Write to the National Food Strategy team – you/your organisation can write to Henry Dimbleby, Chair of the National Food Strategy team, to ask that the National Food Strategy team recommends that the Right To Food be put onto a legislative footing when they report back to Government in Spring. Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Support the Right To Food campaign on social media
- You/your organisation can support and contribute to the #RightToFood campaign on social media. Follow @IanByrneMP and Fans Supporting Foodbanks @SFoodbanks for regular tweets using the #RightToFood hashtag and please add your own too.
Congratulations to Liverpool City councillors, Ian Byrne, FSF and the whole of Liverpool on leading the way yet again for those in need.
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