In the Commons this morning I called for urgent action to tackle food poverty.
Food price inflation is driving many to desperation. Over the past year the price of vegetable oil has risen by 65%, pasta by 60%, tea by 46%, and bread by 38%.
The Food Foundation suggests that 18% of households (9.7 million adults) have experienced food insecurity in the past month – this has more than doubled since January and is affecting an estimated 4 million children. People are having to compromise on the quality of their diets, and many are simply going without.
I called for a cross-departmental approach to this growing crisis. The Minister promised ‘compassion’ from the Government, but people need concrete action. A key tenet of this would be benefits rising in line with inflation in November’s budget. Labour has called on Rishi Sunak to stick to the commitment, but he has so far refused, warning of ‘difficult decisions’.
I’ll be speaking later today in a Backbench Business Debate on the National Food Strategy, where I will be stressing again the urgent need for the Government to act.