The number of children living in food poverty across Dagenham and Rainham has seen a sharp, and unacceptable increase over the past five years explains Labour MP Jon Cruddas. As the cost of living crisis takes hold, new statistics have been revealed highlighting an increase in children eligible for free school meals of 44% in Havering and 29% in Barking and Dagenham. (Source: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics)
With prices rising steeply every day and essential food items going up faster than the rate of inflation, Labour are calling on the Government to set out a National Strategy for Food. In 2019 the Conservative Manifesto stated: “We will ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, sustainably produced food.” Yet in 2022 healthy foods are three times more expensive than less healthy foods calorie for calorie.
Jon Cruddas MP said: “This situation is a direct result of political choices. The Government’s own Food Security Report in December found that the poorest 20% of families spend a greater proportion of their income on food and will be hit hardest by price increases. Yet again the most vulnerable in society are paying the price for Tory failures in government.”
“The Tories have been making life harder for ordinary families in areas like Dagenham and Rainham for over a decade, and now my constituents are faced with a triple whammy of Universal Credit cuts, a rise in National Insurance, and soaring energy bills. All of which will only serve to exacerbate existing struggles, pushing more people into food poverty and worsening health inequalities.”
It is also anticipated that foodbank use will rise as a result of government policy and the looming cost of living crisis. Foodbank use was already high before the outbreak of Covid-19 and has now skyrocketed. Compared to five years ago, the need for foodbanks in the Trussell Trust network has increased by 128%.
Jon added: “Labour is committed to fixing Britain’s broken food system, ending the growing foodbank scandal, and ensuring families can access reasonably priced healthy and sustainable food. The Tories have been asleep at the wheel and their failures put them at the heart of the growing cost of living crisis.”