The use of foodbanks has increased rapidly in Medway over the last few years – Medway Food Bank provided 5,835 clients with food packages in the period of April 2018-March 2019. From January 2019 to end of June 2019, compared to the same period as last year, the amount of clients given packages has increased by 10%.
In the sixth richest country in the world, benefit cuts, a broken housing market, and rising in-work poverty means 8 million people have trouble putting food on the table.
Cllr Alex Paterson put a motion to council aimed at
The motion reads as follows:
- There are 8 million people in the UK who have trouble putting food on the table according to the United Nations.
- Over 500,000 people used food banks in the UK last year;
- The Trussell Trust alone distributed over 1.3m three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis in the financial year 2017-2018.
- 3m children are at risk of hunger during the school holidays.
- Around 10% of the NHS budget goes on treating diabetes and up to 1 million people live in food deserts in the UK.
- The Government’s commitment to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), which commits governments to ending hunger, nationally and internationally, by 2030.
This Council therefore commits to food justice in Medway by:
- Nominating a Cabinet member the responsibility of delivering food justice;
- Asking Cabinet to discuss setting up a food partnership in Medway;
- Asking that the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee receives a report on the extent of food poverty in Medway, and to make recommendations to Cabinet on actions that should be taken to ensure food justice in Medway.
However, the Conservative administration showed their lack of ambition by submitting an amendment which watered down the motion:
“Delete everything after ‘…nationally and internationally, by 2030’ and replace with ‘In light of the above, this Council requests a detailed report from Public Health assessing the extent of this issue within Medway specifically, to be brought before the Medway Health and Wellbeing Board, as the most appropriate forum for any action as appropriate, for considering and recommending any further in depth discussion at the earliest opportunity.'”
On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried and became the substantive motion.
You can read the public health report here: Health and Wellbeing Board 10th September 2019