Campaigners have called for a “right to food” to be enshrined into UK law. Enough Is Enough, a campaigning group launched in July in response to rising bills and food prices, has joined longstanding calls for a legal right to food in the UK to end food poverty. It held a nationwide day of action on Saturday to call for action to tackle the cost of living crisis.
The group said: “Food prices are rising at their sharpest rate since records began, leaving millions going hungry. This national disgrace has to end. It’s time to put the Right to Food in law.”
NEW: Food prices are rising at their sharpest rate since records began, leaving millions going hungry.
This national disgrace has to end. It’s time to put the Right to Food in law. #EnoughisEnough
— Enough is Enough (@eiecampaign) September 14, 2022
The calls reflects Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which stipulates that countries, including the UK, must ensure “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living”, which includes “adequate food”.
The Convenant’s Committee has detailed that “the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement”.
— lan Byrne MP (@IanByrneMP) October 2, 2022
Cost of living crisis
Despite low unemployment levels, the real value of wages has fallen while food prices have increased to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. Prices for goods in the UK had already risen by a record 10.6% this month, partly as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused higher costs for fertilisers. But food prices are predicted to further increase after the pound crashed following the government’s ‘mini-budget’ last week.
One in four hospitals has set up food banks for nurses, reported the Times on Friday. The Trussell Trust, which runs food banks across the UK, said it had seen a 14% increase in the need for food parcels since 2019, while more than one in ten households said they had cut back on food in a recent survey.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown called for a constitutional guarantee of social and economic rights in the UK in his constitutional review for the Labour party earlier this month.
Food write and campaigner on food poverty Jack Monroe highlighted how prices for basic foods, like stock cubes, has risen by more than the annual inflation rate published by the Office for National Statistics. She said it showed how rising food prices disproportionately impact the poorest households.
Woke up this morning to the radio talking about the cost of living rising a further 5%. It infuriates me the index that they use for this calculation, which grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to people with the least. Allow me to briefly explain.
— Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) January 19, 2022
In piece she wrote for the The Guardian in June, she said: “Choosing to deny people the most basic of human needs for the sake of scraping a few quid off the bottom line today will end up costing us – as a society, as a country and as an economy – far more in the months and years to come.”