Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland
The Children’s Future Food Inquiry
An estimated 4.1 million children are living in poverty in the UK but we know little about how many of these children experience food insecurity, how it impacts on their lives and what could be done about it.
The Trussell Trust reports giving out food parcels to more than 500,000 people in 2014/15 of which half are estimated to be for children. Before the introduction of universal infant free school meals, 1.7 million children were eligible for free school meals on the basis of their family income – fewer than those living in poverty but many more than those receiving food parcels.
The only national measure of food insecurity reported by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates 8.4 million people are living in food insecure households in the UK. UNICEF’s analysis of this same data estimates 10% of British children are living in severely food insecure households, but this survey is based on a relatively small sample.
The evidence suggests that child food insecurity exists, and potentially affects millions of children but that the nature, extent and effects of child food insecurity are poorly understood. The problem has received scant political attention and children’s voices are absent.
There is an urgent need for an Inquiry to address this.
THE INQUIRY COMMITTEE
This Parliamentary Inquiry into Children’s Future Food has the support of a cross party group of 14 parliamentarians and two All Party Parliamentary Groups. It also has the support of the Children’s Commissioners in all four UK nations.
Inquiry committee members (listed below) will attend witness hearings and review the evidence gathered during the Inquiry and oversee the development of the final report.
|Sharon Hodgson MP (Chair)||Lord David Watts|
|Philippa Whitford MP (Chair)||Bishop Paul Butler|
|Roberta Blackman-Woods MP||Lord Roy Kennedy|
|Heidi Allen MP||Matthew Reed CEO, Children’s Society|
|Steve Double MP||Prof. Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health|
|Frank Field MP||Pauline Leeson CEO, Children in Northern Ireland|
|Ian Lucas MP||Bruce Adamson Children & Young People’s Commissioner, Scotland|
|Layla Moran MP||Mike Penrose CEO, UNICEF UK|
|Jim Shannon MP||Alison Garnham CEO, Child Poverty Action Group|
|Kerry McCarthy MP||Tara Whitehorn Department for Education (observer)|
|Ruth Smeeth MP|
|Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP|
|Edward Davey MP|
The Food Foundation, working closely with a group of independent experts and Leeds Beckett University will coordinate the delivery of the Inquiry, working in partnership with four children’s organisations: Fixers, Children in Scotland, Children in Wales and Children in Northern Ireland.
The Inquiry will be implemented over a fourteen-month period and will build a national consensus on what needs to be done to prevent children’s food insecurity and to ensure their food is both nourishing and sets them up for a healthy and productive future.
The affordability of a healthy diet
In September 2018, the Food Foundation published new analysis, the ‘Affordability of the UK’s Eatwell Guide’, which finds that 3.7 million children in the UK live in households for whom a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable. The press release, infographics and Guardian coverage are available here, and the full paper is also available to read. This forms a vital part of the evidence base for the Inquiry.
During 2018 Fixers held workshops across the UK with children and young people under 18 years to gather their perspectives on food, and captured their views in a report.
During this process 11 of these young people decided to become Food Ambassadors for the Inquiry and came to Westminster on January 19, 2019 to present their report to parliamentarians. They also appeared on Channel 4 news and on ITV news.
The National Institute of Health Research commissioned a literature review into the extent and consequences of child food insecurity which can be found here.
The Inquiry has also received more than 100 written submissions and is holding hearings in Westminster, the Scottish parliament and Stormont to hear directly from those working with children and young people. The Inquiry’s young food ambassadors are joining the Committee for these sessions.
The Children’s Future Food Inquiry’s young Food Ambassadors joined Dame Emma Thompson at a Westminster event to celebrate the publication of the Inquiry’s final report on Thursday 25th April. National launches in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland took place in the following weeks.
View the young Food Ambassadors’ #Right2Food campaign film here, and listen to Dame Emma Thompson talking about the Inquiry on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
The report includes the Children’s #Right2Food Charter, which calls for a new, independent Children’s Food Watchdog to lead the charge on tackling children’s food insecurity in the UK.
The #Right2Food Charter presents the Inquiry’s young ‘Food Ambassadors’ (aged between 10 and 18 years) own recommendations for loosening the grip of food poverty on children in the UK and improving their access to enough nutritious food.
Dame Emma Thompson, Children’s Future Food Inquiry ambassador, said: “In a wealthy society that claims to value compassion and humanity, how can we tolerate the injustice of millions of children going hungry?
“In face of the government’s refusal to help, the Children’s Future Food Inquiry has brought together hundreds of young people to hear about their lived experience of food poverty, and it’s time we listened to what they say. It’s the younger generation who will deliver the change that’s so urgently needed: we must act now to ensure every child in the UK has their right to food.”
We are very grateful to the following sponsors who are making this inquiry possible. If you would like to see your logo below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Welsh Local Government Association
The Tudor Trust
Trust for London
Meeting notes and slides will be uploaded below after each meeting. If you require any further information on any of the meetings we hold please email email@example.com.
If you would like to ensure you are invited to future meetings, please complete the form below to be added to our mailing list.
|Meeting Type||Meeting Date||Location||Meeting Notes||Slides|
|Committee Meeting||12th March 2018||House of Commons||Notes||Notes|
|Stakeholder Meeting (Scot.)||22nd March 2018||CYPCS Offices, Edinburgh||Notes||Slides|
|Stakeholder Meeting (England)||9th May 2018||The Children’s Society||Notes||Slides|
|Stakeholder Meeting (NI)||6th June 2018||Children in Northern Ireland||Notes||Slides|
|Stakeholder Meeting (Wales)||14th June 2018||Children in Wales||Notes||Slides|
|Committee Meeting||16th July 2018||House of Commons||Notes||Slides|
|Food for Thought Listening Event||17th January 2019||House of Lords|
|Evidence Hearing: England||17th January 2019||House of Lords|
|Evidence Hearing: Wales||21st January 2019||Senedd|
|Evidence Hearing: NI||22nd January 2019||Parliament Buildings|
|Evidence Hearing: Scotland||24th January 2019||Scottish Parliament|
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Everybody should have access to good food. Nobody should go to bed hungry. The Food Foundation is a proud member of the End Hunger UK alliance.