Thursday, June 29, 2023

Food poverty in sixth largest economy

The United Kingdom is listed as second richest in Europe with a GDP of 2.7trillion dollars (2020). The UK is the world’s sixth largest economy.

The Tressell Trust was featured in an article in the Socialist Standard, June 2023.

The latest report from the Tressell Trust highlights the extent to which food poverty is impacting on very many in the UK.

One in seven people in the UK faced hunger last year due to a lack of money, they say.

The survey said this equated to an estimated 11.3 million people.

About 7% of Britain’s population was provided with charitable food support in the year to mid-2022, while 71% of people facing food shortages said they had not yet accessed any such support.

‘... insufficient income is the fundamental driver for almost all people forced to use a food bank. The vast majority (86%) of people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network in mid-2022 have an income so low that they were experiencing destitution when they were supported by the food bank. These already low incomes are further destabilised by a lack of savings and having to cope with arrears and debt.’

Those most impacted are:

‘More than a third (35%) of renters experience food insecurity. This rises to 45% of people living in socially rented housing, with 29% for people in private rented housing. This compares to 6% of people who have a mortgage. One in four (24%) people from an ethnic minority group experience food insecurity, almost twice the rate (13%) for white people. Similarly, more than a quarter of disabled people (26%) experience food insecurity, nearly three times higher than the rate amongst non-disabled people (10%). Nearly a quarter (23%) of unpaid carers experience food insecurity, compared to 12% of non-carers. A fifth (20%) of people living alone experience food insecurity, compared to 13% of people who don’t live alone. 18% of working-age adults experience food insecurity, compared to 3% of people over the age of 65 Nearly a quarter (23%) of households with dependent children experience food insecurity compared to 11% of those without. This rises to nearly half (48%) of single adults living with children.’

In the report’s introduction the Chief Executive of the Trust says:

‘That means we know what needs to change if we’re going to build a more just society where everyone has enough money for the essentials. It is clear that we need a social security system which provides protection and dignity for people to cover the costs of their own essentials, such as food and bills.’

‘Because in coming together, and working together, we will build a future where none of us need a food bank, because none of us will allow it.’

As noted in the June Socialist Standard article, we disagree with the first comment the Chief Executive made. Whist a capitalist society continues to receive support from very many including those globally who suffer badly under that system then sticking plaster solutions are not the answer.

We agree with the second sentiment which she expressed; working together we can build a future where none of us will ever need a food bank ever again.

Our solution is one that eradicates the problem once and for all:

What is the solution to permanently eradicating food poverty and poverty and inequality completely? It’s what we in the Socialist Party have been putting forward for over a hundred years – the replacement of capitalism with a money-free, wage-free, class-free society where goods are produced for use, not profit. Abolish charity. Abolish capitalism. You owe it to yourselves.’

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