Food poverty in the UK: it’s time for critical change

Across the UK, many of us have been increasingly feeling the financial pinch.

With the cost-of-living crisis due to rising inflation, food prices have risen again and again.

In fact, here in the UK, they’ve gone up by 19.1% (in the last 12 months up to March 2023).

Everyday products such as butter, pasta and bread getting more expensive. Research has found that some products have more than doubled in price.

As a result, more and more people are struggling to make ends meet.

The UK charity Trussell Trust recently recorded more than 760,000 people were forced to reach out to one of their food banks for the first time between April 2022 and March 2023.

But for millions, this isn’t new.

Food poverty has long been an issue across the country. Before the Covid-19 hit, over five million people were food insecure. That was 8% of the British population.

For people on low incomes and particularly vulnerable communities such as the homeless and asylum seekers (who are not legally permitted to work and forced to live off £6.43 a day), food poverty is an all too real reality.

Today, we’re facing the reality of nearly 8.4 million people living in food poverty across the UK.

This includes four million children – a figure that’s almost doubled since last year.

As a country, we’ve now got one the highest rates of food poverty in Europe. It’s time for change – starting with the UK Government.

The right to food is a human right (right to health). But here in the UK, it’s not enshrined in law. This needs to change.

In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed free school meals for all primary school children for a year, starting September 2023. But: we want to see more action. 

Here’s how you can take action to fight food poverty – and access support if you’re in need.

Take action / access support:

  1. Join the Right to Food Campaign
    • Sign the petition: call on the UK government to enshrine the right to food in UK law
    • Ask your MP: call on them to also sign the petition!Add your signature: email Ian Byrne MP saying you want to add your signature to the #RightToFood campaign pledge
    • Find out more about the campaign: visit Unite and René Cassin
  2. Donate or reach out to your local foodbank for help: visit Trussell Trust for UK services
  3. Feed your community: invite neighbours and colleagues over for a meal/summer BBQ, host a lunch/dinner in your cultural/religious community centre or volunteer your services at a local centre offering support in your area (search here)
  4. Find out more: learn about “cooking on a bootstrap” with Jack Monroe, who offers recipes for dishes starting at 41p

The right to food (and to health) is a human right.

Let’s fight food poverty together.

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