Tag Archives: food poverty

Radical yet practical ways to improve food production

The RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission has published its final report, setting out radical yet practical ways to improve food production in the face of current challenges. They say

The actions we take in the next ten years, to stop ecosystems collapse, to recover and regenerate nature and to restore people’s health and wellbeing are now critical.

Our Future in the Land makes fifteen recommendations. First, under the headline “Healthy food is every body’s business”, they suggest a greater commitment is needed to growing our own food using sustainable agricultural practices. Increasing UK food production would help reconnect people to nature and boost all of our health and well-being. Further, community food plans should be established, bringing people together to meet their area’s needs.

The second headline, “Farming is a force for change, unleashing a fourth agricultural revolution driven by public values” includes recommendations such as establishing a National Agroecology Development Bank and formulating a ten-year transition plan to fully sustainable farming by 2030. In addition, the report highlights the role of farmers, saying that innovation by farmers should receive more backing and that every farmer should have access to advice through farmer support networks.

The report includes reference to the need to implement the ten elements of Agroecology as set out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. These were developed by the UN to achieve Zero Hunger and other Sustainable Development Goals. I’m keen on the promoting the Circular and solidarity economy, to

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Ending relative poverty in the UK is easy

Recently I have seen a couple of comments on LDV which state that ending relative poverty in the UK would be a difficult and complex thing to achieve. They are mistaken.

The reason someone is living in relative poverty is because they don’t have enough money. The answer, therefore, is to ensure that benefit levels give them enough to pay all of their housing costs and have enough left over to be on the poverty line and not below it. As Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in his report points out “employment alone is insufficient” to lift someone out of poverty.

Already we have a system which reduces benefits by 63p for every pound earned, but 4 million workers live in poverty. This is because the gain from working is not enough to lift the person out of poverty. If they were already out of poverty when living only on benefits then no one working could be living in poverty.

We need to ensure that those living on benefits have enough money to pay all of their housing costs. Scrapping the benefit cap helps, as would increasing Local Housing Allowance in line with local rents (both party policy). However, they don’t go far enough. Local Housing Allowance was introduced by the Labour government in 2008. It sets maximums for housing benefit depending on local rents, and sets out what type of accommodation different types of families can have.

It is not liberal for the state to tell people how many rooms they can have to live in. It is not liberal for the state to force tenants into debt arrears. It is not liberal for the state to force someone to move house when they experience difficult times such as when they become unemployed.

It is liberal for the state to pay 100% of the housing costs of those on benefit. Therefore we should have as our long-term aim scrapping the LHA and in the meantime increase its value above the bottom 30% of local rents. (I expect this is the main reason that 1.9 million pensioners are living in poverty). The least we should do is reduce the single person age down to 25 from 35, so a single person aged between 25 and 34 should no longer be forced to live in shared accommodation.

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Edward McMillan-Scott MEP writes…Brussels Conference on Food and Climate Change

VärtaverketTHERE is justified concern over the growing reliance on food banks in the UK and across the European Union. We should consider it as a symptom of a broken food system which requires a complete overhaul. We need a sustainable food policy across the EU, where often prosperous farmers will get €350bn over the next seven years, while the most deprived get a meagre €3.5bn.

On March 30, a further report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”.

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Yes, food poverty is real – but the situation is complex and solutions are not straightforward

Food poverty, it seems to me, is a slightly odd term, but its apparent necessity is, I think, a reflection of the tortuous treatment imposed on the word “poverty”. Poverty now, in common usage (at least among experts in such issues), means “relative poverty”, which essentially means inequality. So when we actually want to refer to poverty as the word would historically have been understood (as being unable to satisfy one’s basic needs) we have to apply a prefix: fuel poverty, food poverty etc.

While Britain clearly has its share of poverty on the relative definition, in theory there ought to be no such thing as food poverty. A generously funded social security system should mean that anyone in danger of being in such a situation (whether in work or not) ought to be caught by the state’s safety net.

I think most can agree, though, that this theoretical scenario is not always the case in practice.

Unfortunately, however, I don’t think the agreement goes any further, particularly when we look at levels of food poverty and its causes.

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Opinion: Food poverty is real and we need to address it

There is some merit in the argument presented by the Archbishop of Westminster that cuts, and indeed caps, to welfare are removing a safety net for those worst off in society.

We see in the Independent that one in six GPs have been asked to refer people to food banks, and while unemployment may be dropping, people are still struggling with stagnant wages and rising costs.

I’ve long argued against the benefits cap, stating that the cost of living varies so broadly across the country that such a cap can only lead to people in so-called affluent areas being disadvantaged. …

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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Oct - 10:04pm
    @ Richard Underhill I gather Mr Bellotti was none too popular with the supporters of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 23rd Oct - 9:46pm
    Alex (Macfie), David (Raw), John (Boss) - Martin Baxter at Electoral Calculus, produced an excellent infographic showing what happened in the run up to 2015....
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 23rd Oct - 9:19pm
    First, thanks to all above for an uncommon feast of good sense. @David Raw "If the party is to have a future it must fashion...
  • User AvatarMartin Land 23rd Oct - 9:07pm
    My proposal for the GE is that every time we mention Boris or the Tories policies, we should have an asterisk and a corresponding message...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd Oct - 8:43pm
    David Raw 23rd Oct '19 - 2:27pm I was one of the campaigners who lived within one hours drive of Eastbourne for the bye-election won...
  • User AvatarMark Blackburn 23rd Oct - 8:14pm
    Bollocks to Boris. Same DNA, same simplicity, same clarity. Bollocks to Boris - all his lies, all his bluster, all his hypocrisy.