North East UK news Lockdowns left more residents struggling to afford to eat MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - City council warns MPs that job losses caused by Covid and lockdowns will mean more people struggle to afford food
Breaking News ! An increasing number of people are "struggling to afford or access food", Newcastle City Council has warned. And there is a particular problem ensuring people have access to fresh food and vegetables, the council has told MPs. It issued the warning in a submission to a House of Commons inquiry, which looked at the impact of Covid-19 on people's ability to feed themselves. The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said almost one in 10 households have experienced "food poverty" during the two most recent lockdowns. This means they can't afford, or do not have access to, food required for a healthy diet. In a new report, the Committee urged the Government to appoint a new Minster for Food Security and consult on a national "right to food" in England. Read More Related Articles More than one in 50 people in the North East suffer the misery of 'long Covid' Read More Related Articles As lockdown ends, how do we get the North East's economy moving again? The committee considered evidence from a range of sources including Newcastle City Council. In a written submission, the council said that Covid had increased the number of people in the city requiring help, and highlighted concern that food prices would increase as a result of Brexit. The council said: "There are an increasing number of people struggling to afford or access food. This will be exacerbated by the ongoing effects of the pandemic and challenges associated with Brexit in terms of food price increases and impact on small business supplies." Read More Related Articles Race report condemned for 'seeking to make fools of us' after it rejects institutional racism claims Read More Related Articles 'Red wall' poll says Labour would regain two North East seats - but Tories are still in the lead It told MPs: "There has also been an increase in demand for food insecurity support due to poverty associated with the economic impact of Covid-19, and this has put more pressure on the food banks and support organisations in the city, which appears to have worsened over time. "Residents experiencing food insecurity associated with poverty are more likely to be single-parent families and single person households (often older people). Our clinically vulnerable residents are more likely to experience barriers in access due to guidance." While demand for help has risen, the council along with voluntary and community organisations had been able to ensure people were fed, the council said.
. The council said: "One of the issues we have been facing is access to fresh fruit and vegetables for the Council and Community and Voluntary Sector organisations supporting the food insecurity work resulting from Covid-19." The authority warned that more people were likely to need help obtaining food in the future. It told MPs: "The financial implications of Covid-19 will mean that many more people in Newcastle will be affected by job losses and a lack of future prospects. A Government approach will be required to address this with a wide range of partners, and access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food and drink needs to be part of this." MPs said the Government should provide ongoing support to charities working to distribute surplus food from the farm gate to frontline food aid providers, to ensure fresh fruit and vegetables were available. In other recommendations, they called on supermarkets to make it easier for people on lower incomes and who live alone to shop online. This would include the removal of delivery charges and minimum online spends for lower-income households. What do you think of possible plans to introduce vaccine passports for holidays, pubs and events? Please take our short survey below
And MPs said that in the event of another lockdown, the Government should ensure that families with children eligible for free school meals continue to be able to feed their children. 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 MP, 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."
Source = MetiNews.Com