It is time to count the hungry: Grahame Morris MP joins call for a measure of food security in the UK
Today Grahame Morris joined with members of the End Hunger UK campaign to call for the government to measure the number of people who cannot afford to eat, or who worry about where their next meal is coming from. Grahame is supporting a 10 Minute Rule Bill being proposed by Emma Lewell-Buck MP which calls for a measurement of food insecurity in the UK.
Food bank use in the UK has risen rapidly in the last 5 years. It is understood that the issue is worse than we can see on the surface. For example, not everybody who is struggling to afford to put food on the table uses food banks. For some, turning up at a food bank and asking for help can feel impossible.
But at the moment the only statistics which measure levels of hunger are either one off studies or global reports. For example, UN data published in September, nearly 3 million people in the UK were classed as being severely food insecure between 2014 and 2016. The only country in Europe with higher food insecurity figures is Albania.
Grahame Morris MP says;
“We must begin start to count the number of people in the UK who cannot afford to eat. The fact that some people cannot afford to put a meal on the table for themselves and their family cannot needs to be recognised.
“I am calling on the Government to introduce this much-needed measure of food insecurity in the UK.”
Rachel Alcock, End Hunger UK Campaign Coordinator says;
“We are delighted that Grahame has joined the call for a universal measure of food insecurity in the UK.
“Sadly, today there will be people across the UK who cannot afford to eat, and may resort to skipping meals or visiting a food bank in order to feed themselves and their families. This simply isn’t good enough.
“The government must act quickly to address this issue, the introduction of a measure of hunger is a good first step.”
Food security is important for many reasons, including long term health outcomes. Sustained household food insecurity increases the risk of poor physical and mental health through stress, nutrient deficiency and poor quality dietary intake. Children living in food insecure household could not only be impacted in their ability to concentrate at school but not getting the right nutrients at an early age could have lifelong effects.
The first reading of the Household Food Insecurity Measurement Bill will happen on 29th November which asks for a nationwide commitment to regularly and efficiently measure levels of household food insecurity.
 FAO, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017, pg. 84: http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition/en/