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The Food Foundation releases a new report show the impact on the pandemic on food insecurity

The report urges Government to make food security a priority in recovery planning and move away from short-term solutions, food banks and emergency food aid.

 

Headline Statistics

  • Food insecurity remains higher than pre-Covid levels affecting an estimated 7 million adults (9% of households) over the last six months. This compares to pre-Covid levels of 7.6%.
  • 55% of those experiencing food insecurity (an estimated 2.5 million adults) said it was because they did not have enough money for food, 31% said it was due to isolation, 23% said it was lack of access and supply and 8% cited other reasons in the last six months.
  • Despite Government’s financial support schemes and the Universal Credit £20 uplift, 22% of households have experienced a drop in income since Feb 2020.
  • Households with children have higher levels of food insecurity compared to those without. An estimated 2.3 million children live in households that have experienced food insecurity in the past 6 months (12% of households with children).
  • The situation is even worse in households with children on Free School Meals. 41% have reported food insecurity in the past 6 months.

 

Other findings:

Food Sector Workers

  • In the past 6 months, 14% of food sector workers experienced food insecurity compared with 9% of non-food sector workers.

 

BAME Communities

  • Compared to white ethnicities, BAME households have consistently been twice as likely to be food insecure. Data in January showed 20% of BAME households have experienced food insecurity in the last six months compared to 9% of white British households.

 

Disability and Health Problems

  • At the start of the pandemic, adults identifying as being limited a lot by health problems or a disability were three times more likely to be food insecure than those without. These inequalities have increased even further. In January, they were five times more likely than those without.

 

Recommendations:

The new report urges Government to make food security a priority to ensure the long-term health and resilience of the nation.

The 3 key recommendations in the report are:

  1. An urgent review of Free School Meals: prioritising ensuring the eligibility threshold does not exclude any disadvantaged children from accessing a healthy meal.
  2. Businesses should pay at least the Real Living Wage and the Government should make the £20 Universal credit uplift permanent.
  3. Designate authority in Government to be responsible for monitoring and tackling food insecurity.

You can read the full report here and see more data from our surveys under the “Research and Data” tab of this Tracker. Further information on the responses from children reported during the webinar can be seen here. A recording of the webinar held to discuss the findings can be accessed via this link.

View our UK Food Tracker in full.