The UK’s food system is failing. New report calls upon Government to end years of inaction and ensure a healthy, sustainable diet is accessible for everyone.
The UK’s food system is failing, putting the health of the population, and of the planet, at risk. The report of the Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment, published today, calls upon the Government to end years of inaction and ensure that a healthy, sustainable diet is accessible for everyone.
The Chair of the Committee, Lord Krebs said:
"Problems of diet and ill-health have been staring us in the face for decades, but successive Governments have done precious little about it. While this affects everyone, people in poverty either can’t afford enough to eat or have unhealthy diets.
"The Government knows about the problem. It’s time to stop the dither and delay, endless talking and consultation, and get on with it."
The Committee sets out a range of recommendations across different areas to fix the food system and ensure a healthy, sustainable diet is available is accessible to everyone:
The committee wants the Government "without delay" to:
- Start to measure how many people live with food insecurity, and analyse why;
- Understand the cost of a healthy diet and incorporate this into benefits calculations;
- Act to curb excessive advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods by the food industry;
- Step up pressure on the food industry to reduce sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and calories in processed food, and introduce mandatory requirements where change has not happened;
- Ensure that food initiatives for disadvantaged children, such as Healthy Start and free school meals are properly funded, implemented and monitored;
- Establish an independent body to oversee the implementation of a National Food Strategy and report annually to Parliament on progress;
- Use the opportunity of the Agriculture Bill to encourage production and consumption of healthier food and ensure that it delivers the public environmental goods it is designed to.
Contributions from Leeds
Leeds was due to host a visit from members of the Select Committee in March 2020 to highlight the impact of sustained austerity policies and the transition to Universal Credit has had on our most deprived communities. This visit was cancelled due to Covid-19 but the Leeds Food Aid Network, Fareshare Yorkshire, FoodWise Leeds, Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Foundation and the University of Leeds Food Theme all contributed evidence to the report.
To read the full report