Government must find ‘impetus’ to act on food security

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has said that the government must now find 'impetus' to act on food security, following recent momentum.

The report from the committee claims that government ministers mobilised their departments to prevent food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, but the impetus to do so must be sustained as the country re-opens.

The committee highlights the almost one in 10 households who have, during the two most recent national lockdowns, experienced food poverty, and again urge the government to appoint a new Minster for Food Security and consult on a national 'right to food' in England.

Following their earlier report in July 2020, the EFRA Committee recommends that the government conduct an annual food security report, sustaining this frequency until the combined economic fallout of coronavirus and Brexit has passed. Additionally, the report also calls on the government to learn from the unacceptable food parcels provided by some suppliers in January , and ensure that 'any future offering is consistently up to standard'.

Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said: "During the Covid crisis, different government departments pulled together to make sure that the most vulnerable in our society were fed. This should set a precedent. We have a duty to ensure that access to enough nutritious food is a fundamental right for everyone in the UK, which is why, for the second time in a year, our committee urge the government to appoint a new minister specifically to address food security.

"The government must now learn lessons from the pandemic, using the teething problems it encountered in distributing food to ensure that, in 'normal times', disadvantaged groups- such as those without internet access- do not slip between the cracks. It also has a responsibility to support businesses right the way through the food supply chain. As hospitality opens up from next Monday, additional financial support must be provided to its suppliers, else the funding rightly given to pubs, restaurants and cafes to get them through the lockdown will be wasted."

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