Food Poverty is a growing issue not just in Sheffield but across the UK. In response Sheffield Labour councillors have pushed forward with further action to tackle the rising food poverty.
There is also concern that the forthcoming cuts to Universal Credit will mean even more people having to rely on food banks.
Labour have called on Sheffield City Council to enact a ‘Local Food Access Plan’ to pull together all the work being undertaken in the city to combat food poverty, and to help better support all Sheffield organisations working to tackle food poverty, including food banks.
Councillors have also demanded that government enshrine into law a person’s ‘right to food’ meaning that the government’s is held accountable for their failings on food poverty, and that everyone should be able to afford and access food.
Labour Councillors Ruth Milsom (Crookes and Crosspool) and Sophie Wilson (Park and Arbourthorne) proposed the action and issued the following statement:
‘No one in Sheffield should go hungry.
‘We want to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen, but as a council we are painfully aware that there is no pot of government money to bail us out of a food crisis. The council has lost 50% of its funding – around £450 million – since 2010. But as a city we do have rich veins of human kindness and physical resources to draw on. Sheffield’s Covid pandemic response has demonstrated that then city has the will to ensure that everybody is fed.
‘While a local food access plan cannot reverse the government’s welfare changes, it can hopefully mitigate their impact, by empowering food support networks in the city.
‘We want the council to go further in supporting the work of the wonderful voluntary organisations in the city, and help to ensure a co-ordinated and hands-on approach to addressing food poverty. At a time when the pandemic is causing the number of people in crisis to escalate, it is especially urgent to have a local strategy in place’
At a meeting of councillors on Wednesday 8 September, Labour councillors’ action plan was given cross-party support.
Labour’s motion to Council can be read in full here – https://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=23904