The Right to Food?

Following a report by Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford of Sheffield University, Addressing Food Poverty in the UK: Charity, Rights and Welfare, Church Action on Poverty was invited to take the research to the next level. Our Poverty Media Coordinator Jackie and our Community Pride Linkworker Joyce explain how we’re now working with people in poverty to secure their right to food.

Our Community Pride Link Worker Joyce Kay worked with two groups of people, one in Salford and the other in Halifax. The groups looked at Hannah Lambie-Mumford’s research and findings, and used their own experiences of food poverty to explore what a ‘right to food’ should look like and what is happening now, particularly in the context of current welfare reforms.

What was immediately clear was that no one has ever heard of the ‘right to food’ – or knows that the UK signed up to take responsibility for it in 1976. The participants didn’t know that they, or anyone else, had a right to food – or that the Government is legally required under international human rights law to secure the human right to adequate food for everyone in the UK.

From the discussion, our Poverty Media Coordinator Jackie Cox planned out a video documentary, and we decided that Letitia from the Salford group, and Martin from the Halifax group, should present it. These were the questions that the groups wanted to ask and get answers to:

  • Is the state taking responsibility for our right to food?
  • How is it respecting, protecting and fulfilling that right?
  • Or is it acting against its obligations with the introduction of welfare conditionality and sanctions?
  • What is the relationship between the state and the charities that provide emergency food?
  • And is anyone being held accountable?

The documentary was shown at a specially convened policy meeting at Church House in Westminster on 2 September. We hope the real-life stories of those who have experienced food poverty, and who spoke at that event, will motivate action.

As Martin says:

If people knew they had a right to food… What difference could it make?
Imagine if Letitia and I told two people each…
And then they told two people each…
And then they told two people each…

We are holding events around the UK this autumn to discuss further action on the ‘right to food’.

Find out more at our website.

Church Action on Poverty Sunday 2016 will be a chance for churches to reflect on food as both a gift of God and a human right.

2 thoughts on “The Right to Food?

  1. Pingback: The Right to Food in the Time of Benefits Sanctions | Kitchen Counter Culture

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