Hungry for Change: A Call to Action on Food and Poverty
Final report from the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty
Today sees the publication and launch in the House of Commons of Hungry for Change, an in-depth report on the links between food and poverty in the UK.
The year-long study has been undertaken by the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which is made up of experts in food policy and related fields including health, social policy, the environment, poverty and education.
The report focuses on the issue of 'household food insecurity', which the Commission defines as ‘the inability to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.’
The Commission has been hosted by the Fabian Society and is not affiliated to any political party. The cross-party nature of the Commission's work is in recognition of the need to achieve the political consensus needed to put in place the long-term co-ordinated government actions required to address this issue.
The commissioners’ recommendations include:
- A pilot tax on sugary drinks so that the efficacy of taxes on unhealthy food and drink can be assessed
- A review of current advertising codes to identify where existing rules are being flouted and children are being bombarded by unhealthy promotions
- A new cross-departmental minister with responsibility for eliminating household food insecurity in the UK
- Action to reduce acute household food insecurity caused by social security benefit sanctions, delays and errors
- An inquiry to identify effective ways of removing poverty premiums for key living costs including food, utilities, housing, household appliances, and transport
- Local authorities establish food access plans that will address any physical barriers to affordable, nutritious food in their area
In his preface to the report, Geoff Tansey, Commission Chair, lays out their vision for the UK's food system:
'As a Commission, we want to see a country where your income no longer dictates how much nutritious food you have access to, or how likely you are to eat foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar. We want to see a country where children are not bombarded by unhealthy food marketing; but are equipped to make their own food choices by an understanding of where food comes from and what is in the food they eat. We want to see a food system where everybody can easily acquire nutritious food they can afford without causing dire consequences for the environment, and for producers and workers both in the UK and around the world involved in food provisioning.'