Trade Union Leaders Demand National Food Emergency Summit

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Warm food for the poor and homeless

Scores of trade union leaders, academics and campaigners have today signed a joint letter calling  on the UK Government, the devolved administrations, mayoralties and local councils to organise a national summit to help deliver a plan to help feed people and ensure that their basic needs are met.

The many signatories, including Sharon Graham General Sec of Unite the Union, Sarah Wolley General Sec of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, and Dave Ward General Sec of the Communication Workers Union, together with over a dozen more trade union leaders, Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Professor Kate Pickett co-author of The Spirit Level, and Professor Alex Colas coordinator of the Food and Work Network make it clear that Britain is experiencing a National Food Emergency and that urgent action is needed.    

Local signatories include Ian Bryne MP and co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Professor Bryce Evans, Professor Ian Sinha and Dr Naomi Maynard.

In the letter they state:

As things stand millions of people in the UK are today feeling insecure about food. Inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years, with food prices, alongside energy costs, at record levels. Millions of people, including millions of children, are unable to meet their basic needs. Destitution is on the rise and reliance on food banks is normalised.”

It is against this context that we have an ‘earnings and income crisis’ (not simply a cost of living crisis), and so, in calling for a National Food Emergency, we believe that the UK Government and the devolved administrations should work together to deliver:

  • A rise in the National Minimum Wage to at least £15 an hour – to guarantee workers a real Living Wage
  • An immediate and substantial increase to Universal Credit – restoring the £20 uplift, uprating benefits to keep pace with rising prices and bills, and removing the 5 week wait
  • Provide universal free school meals for every child throughout the year
  • Ban “zero hours” contracts and guarantee workers predictable incomes they can live on
  • Enshrine the Right to Food in law”

“We call on the TUC, the wider Trade Union movement, all political parties, religious leaders, academics, researchers, campaigners and all the people of this country to demand that Government’s act now to call a National Food Emergency and address the food crisis that is facing so many people.”

 Read the full letter