Sheffield MP backs ‘Right to Food’ movement to be made UK law as country struggles with pandemic

Written by Michael Robinson

A petition aiming to make the government legally responsible for helping more than ten million people at risk of poverty in the UK has been endorsed by a Sheffield MP.

The ‘Right to Food’ campaign has challenged the government to improve people’s incomes, control everyday costs such as utility bills and improve access to good food.

Sheffield Hallam MP, Olivia Blake, on Friday, said: “The determined work of councils, campaigners, charities and individuals to step in where the government has failed, and ensure no one is left hungry, is incredible. But it should not be necessary.

“This government has continuously failed to take the steps necessary to ensure everyone in the UK has enough food.

“Their piecemeal, inadequate support package – from refusing to extend free school meal vouchers, to shamefully insubstantial food parcels – has left millions of people hungry.”

Olivia Blake, 2019

The petition has been signed by around 45,000 people which is nearly half of the required total for it to be debated in parliament and past the threshold for a government response.

Dave Kelly, 63, Head of Fans Supporting Foodbanks (FSF) and co-creator of the petition with Liverpool MP Ian Byrne, said: “The right to food would be transformational for so many people in the UK.

“It should be free for the ones who need it, and it should be available for the ones who need it.”

(Credit: Fans Supporting Foodbanks)

The government is currently drafting a White Paper as part of a revision to its national food strategy which was last looked at 75 years ago.

Mr Kelly believes this is the perfect time for the ‘Right to Food’ to be enshrined in UK law.

He says those relying on FSF when it began were predominately homeless or those on benefits but it is now much more common for those who have been furloughed or made redundant to use a food bank.

The petition has also received support from author and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe and the scheme has been approved by Liverpool Council.

You can find the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/562838

Written by Michael Robinson

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