We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, hitting poor families the hardest and affecting all our lives. The Government Food Strategy was released as tens of thousands of families in the UK are making choices between heating their homes and feeding their children. A good food strategy would have been rooted in dignity and compassion, shaped by lived experience. The Government Food Strategy was a missed opportunity – lacking any kind of compelling vision or roadmap towards access to food for all.
Last month, we marked World Hunger Day by launching our Jewish Food Rights Declaration – making clear that cross-denominational Jewish leadership stand in support of the Right to Food. That both the National Food Strategy and the Government Food Strategy failed to make mention of the Right to Food makes clear their disregard for those experiencing food poverty – forcing charities, faith communities and foodbanks to fill the gap where government provision should be.
The consequences of food poverty know no bounds. Food poverty leads to health and life expectancy inequality, amongst a host of other grave health issues. Food poverty affects children’s educational attainment and life chances. As a Jewish human rights charity, we at René Cassin understand the centrality of dignity and compassion in the fight to end food poverty. Indeed, these values are at the heart of Judaism. Enshrining the Right to Food in UK law is the fullest embodiment of dignity and compassion. In the face of ignorance and disregards in the form of the Government Food Strategy, we will continue to work alongside our sector partners, for as long as it takes to protect everyone’s right to food.