Impact of Covid-19 on Food Security
The Food Foundation has released a report showing the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on food poverty and household food security.
The report follows seven nationally representative surveys taken over the past year and reveals that 9% of households now face food insecurity, compared to 7.6% before the pandemic hit. Over half of those experiencing food insecurity said it was because they didn’t have enough money to buy food. This is at a time when 22% of households have seen a fall in their income.
The situation is even more concerning where children are involved. 12% of households with children have experienced food insecurity in the last six months. And for those with children on free school meals (FSM), the number rises to 41%.
Since Christmas, one in five children reported food insecurity, and increase since the summer. Nearly one million children have reported using a food bank this winter and families with children who receive FSM are ten times more likely to have visited a food bank than those without. Even more starkly, the report also highlights that '20% of BAME households had experienced food insecurity in the last six months compared to 9% of White British households.'
While food insecurity across the country is getting worse, the Government has the chance to help those families who are most vulnerable through school food interventions. To do this effectively, we’re calling on Government to carry out a full review of school food in UK.
The report further recommends that businesses should pay at least the Real Living Wage and the £20 Universal Credit uplift ought to be made permanent. The Government should also designate an authority to be responsible for monitoring and tacking food insecurity. We look forward to this week’s budget and hope that the Chancellor announces progressive decisions to help those most in need, including those suggestions we submitted during the spending review.
In other news ...
This week School Food Matters has delivered the one millionth breakfast through our Breakfast Boxes programme.
Research from think tank Demos has revealed that people want the Government to provide free school meals (FSM) during school holidays after the pandemic. People also support universal FSM (UFSM).
Two Bills are being considered by California’s Legislature: one to provide universal free school meals (UFSM) and one to incentivise healthy, plant-based food.