10 Mar 2020
Since 1976, the UK Government has been required under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11) to secure the human right to adequate food for everyone in the UK.
Despite this, increasing numbers of people are in or at risk of food poverty, with millions of people in the UK, including many children, struggling to access a sufficient and nutritious diet. Food poverty impacts people at every age, and for different reasons.
Poor diet increases risk of illness, reduces a person’s quality of life and reduces their life chances. Governments, local authorities, health services and industry need to do more to counteract these worrying trends.
The BDA believes that:
- Nobody should live in food poverty.
- UK Government and local authorities must take urgent action to lift people out of food poverty and prevent others from falling into food poverty. This should include enshrining a “Right to Food” in UK law.
- People directly affected by food poverty must be actively and authentically involved in any efforts to fight food poverty.
- Dietitians have the knowledge and skills to support people directly, but should also be supported to work in public health at a population health level to prevent and reverse food poverty. Dietitians should work with other health care professionals to help them identify those at risk of food poverty, signpost them to appropriate support and provide effective advice on how to eat a healthy nutritious diet on limited income.
- In line with the position of Trades Union Congress, the roll out of Universal Credit should stop immediately, and the policy replaced by a system that does not drive anyone into poverty.
- Food industry should engage with the issue of food poverty beyond supporting food charities as part of corporate social responsibility. Emergency food charities should emphasise and focus on their social and political contribution to progressive responses to food poverty and realising the human right to food in the UK.