Food poverty and government failure

Food poverty and government failure

Opinion piece from Jane Darling, FHCLP secretary

Once again, the same pattern of step 1- trumpet an idea, get an expert to write a report to make it look as though you seriously intend to do something meaningful, then, step 2 – ignore all the long-term, more difficult but useful stuff in that report, step 3 – cherry pick a few easy-to-do bits, but fail to actually outline what, how and when these weak ambitions will be achieved.

It was the turn of the government’s “plan” for Food Strategy yesterday  to get this treatment.They commissioned a report, – based on the report they commissioned Henry Dimbleby to write for them – but around half the recommendations were ditched, with just a few ideas taken on board, but no detail announced, Less a strategy than a restaurant menu of a few tempting dishes which you then have to cook yourself!

Unbelievably, at a time when many are struggling to feed their children ahead of themselves, one of the crucial recommendations in the Dimbleby report was that all children whose family is on Universal Credit should be entitled to free school meals. To most of us, this would be an obvious no-brainer, but not to this government, which continues to demonstrate how far out of touch they are with the reality out there in our communities.

But when you take notice of the carefully chosen words of our MPs and Ministers who admit that “at the moment” we are in a cost of living difficulty which people are “worried” about, you begin to see that there is a lack of real commitment to dealing with what is going to become not only a cost of living/food crisis, but result in even bigger crises in mental and physical health, housing, employment. Our national productivity, already one of the worst in the developed countries, is going to fall even further and the gap between the haves and the have nots is going to widen even further.

What happened to levelling up? 

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