A right to Food

According to the Department of Health, in 2015 there were 184,528 hospital bed days taken by patients who were suffering from malnutrition from lack of food”
Is There A Right To Food? How To Solve The UK’s Growing Food Poverty Crisis.

According to the Malnutrition TaskForce, the cost of malnutrition to the health and care system was around £19.6 billion in 2011-12.

Treating someone who is malnourished is two to three times more expensive than for someone who is not malnourished.

Estimated health and social care expenditure per capita of the population is £2,417. For those malnourished or at risk, the expenditure rises to £7,408 per person in the population.

Food insecurity is bad for self-esteem and bad self -esteem is bad for society

The Independent comments:

An exclusive poll commissioned by The Independent reveals one in 14 Britons has had to use a food bank, with similar numbers also forced to skip meals and borrow money as austerity measures leave them “penniless with nowhere to turn”.

The findings come as a major report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows more than 1.5 million people were destitute in the UK last year alone, a figure higher than the populations of Liverpool and Birmingham combined.

This includes 365,000 children, with experts warning that social security policy changes under the Tory government were leading to “destitution by design”. Destitution is defined as people lacking two “essential needs”, such as food or housing.

….among the tens of thousands of people who were recorded as being destitute last year, food was the most commonly lacked item, with 62 per cent within the group reporting that they had gone without over the past month.

Rolling out Universal Credit has become according to Campbell Robb, chief executive of JRF, destitution by design.

Britain has nine out of the ten poorest regions in Northern Europe which is a disgrace for the supposed 5th richest economy in the world.



  1. Bill Hughes -

    It takes 3 weeks to starve to death but Universal Credit claimants have to wait at least 5 weeks for payment. Perhaps the legal requirement should be that no government should enact policies that lead to starvation.

  2. Jennifer (aka Jeni, Havantaclu) Parsons -

    ‘Destitution by design’ – as Nye Bevan said, Tories are worse than vermin. Still true sixty years on. New Labour picked up and developed Thatcher’s mantras and I’m still unsure whether the present Labour leadership could fight their collective way out of a paper bag.

  3. Peter Dawe -

    Universal Credit is a good idea being killed by perverted civil servants in a similar way that they did for “Poll Tax”. Any simplified and effective system massively reduces the number of civil servant departments and officers, so they sabotage it. Ask IDS about how they are going about implementing his vision!

    Also clinical malnutrition should not be seen as a proxy for poverty. Generally clinical malnutrition is related to other health issues rather than poverty.

    1. Michael Green -

      This is such a common and mistaken view. Civil servants have to take half-baked policies from ignorant politicians and somehow have to try to make them work. A Northern Ireland minister who has never actually set foot in the place. A Brexit minister who doesn’t realise that Dover is an important port. They have to watch in silence as their minister lies through his/her teeth. They have to accept the blame from a minister who thinks “we have had enough of experts”, when an impossible plan falls down. Just occasionally, they get to work for a politician they like and admire. Just occasionally, they can persuade a minister to let them do something constructive. Civil servants are not perfect, but compared to the current front benches, they are in a different league.

      1. Peter May -

        I agree with the general high standard of civil servants and the extraordinarily low standard of the current government.
        I don’t agree that “clinical malnutrition is related to other health issues rather than poverty” – such evidence as there is suggests otherwise as the Indy says “among the tens of thousands of people who were recorded as being destitute last year, food was the most commonly lacked item, with 62 per cent within the group reporting that they had gone without over the past month”.
        Simple logic dictates that if you lack food you have by definition less chance of being well nourished. It is true that people are often not eating the best things but getting 3 days emergency supplies is by definition never going to be the best – it’s hardly ever fresh and is invariably tinned or dried.
        I’ve never had three days on that diet but I very much doubt many would choose it and it is a bi-product of ambient storage and what has been donated, so just sustenance and not nutrionally balanced

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