Families in the UK are borrowing money to buy food just a week into lockdown: new Food Foundation data in the Guardian
Today, the Guardian reported on our YouGov survey, which found that millions of people in the UK are already struggling to get the food they need and falling into debt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1.5 million adults in Britain say they cannot obtain enough food, 53% of NHS workers are worried about getting food, and half of parents with children eligible for Free School Meals have not received any substitute meals to keep their children fed, despite government assurances that they would provide food vouchers or parcels. This means that 830,000 children could be going without daily sustenance on which they usually rely.
Read our blog about the survey here.
FOOD AID TASK FORCE
In light of the problems identified by our poll, the Food Foundation is calling for the government to establish a food aid task force to deliver a coordinated response with local authorities, charities and businesses.
We need national food aid coordination mechanism which is fast-moving, delivery-focused and accountable. It should be chaired by a Minister and involve several departments including DWP, DfE, DEFRA, MHCLG and the Cabinet Office, as well as the LGA, GLA and the Food Foundation, Sustain, the Trussell Trust, IFAN and Fareshare.
It must do the following:
- Determine who is in need of financial assistance and who is in need of food assistance and the relative size and characteristics of these groups – i.e. perform an assessment.
- Identify the role of central government, local authorities, the private sector, national charities, the MoD, local resilience teams and community-based organisations in delivering this assistance.
- Provide guidance, where necessary, to support delivery and avoid duplication of effort.
- Map and monitor the response to ensure critical gaps in delivery are addressed.
- Secure resources to ensure each stakeholder can do its job (where necessary linking community groups to funders and wholesalers).
- Create a mechanism for best practice sharing and troubleshooting among local authorities and community groups on delivery.
- Oversee a public and voluntary groups communications plan.
- Communicate the central government helpline.
- Reassure the public on a regular basis in order to reduce panic buying and public unrest.
- Transparently document all decisions and learning to inform future responses.