New figures released today show the extent of 'hidden hunger' in the UK and strengthen the call for the government to measure household food insecurity.
The results of a YouGov survey, commissioned by the End Hunger UK group which includes the Food Ethics Council, reveal shocking figures that highlight the issue of household food insecurity in the UK.
Key findings of the report include:
- More than 1 in 10 adults and almost 1 in 4 parents of children aged 18 and under had skipped meals because of lack of money in the last 12 months
- 16% of adults had either skipped meals, or seen someone in their household skip meals, in the last 12 months; this figure rose to 23% (just under a quarter) for parents of children under 18 and 27% for parents with primary school-age children (5-11)
- 8% of adults had gone a whole day without eating because of lack of money in the last 12 months.
- Three quarters of adults agreed that the government should measure household food insecurity.
The End Hunger UK group is calling on the UK government to support a national measure of household food insecurity. In November 2017 Emma Lewell-Buck MP's Household Food Insecurity Bill successfully passed its first reading. On Friday 2nd, February the Bill will have its second reading.
Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields and author of the Bill on measuring food insecurity, said:
"Without a robust system of household food insecurity measurement in place, making policy to mitigate hunger will never become a reality. It is clear that the time for action is now and urgent. That’s why I’m taking a Bill to Parliament to make the government measure hidden hunger, because what gets measured gets mended."
Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, said:
“The issue of household food insecurity in the UK has been swept under the carpet for too long. It is time for all political parties to acknowledge the extent of the problem. As this latest survey shows, household food insecurity is a very real problem for many people in the UK. It should not be the responsibility of civil society organisations to carry out surveys like this.
"The Government must step up and take responsibility for tackling poverty in this country. It can't continue to ignore the extent and scale of household food insecurity, instead it must make measurement a priority.
"As we said in a report for Defra back in 2014, food banks and other types of food aid cannot address the underlying causes of household food insecurity. The Government needs to provide a genuine safety net for people in need and help raise people's incomes and standard of living."
End Hunger UK is supported by many national organisations, including: Baptist Union of Great Britain; Church Action on Poverty, Church of Scotland; First Steps Nutrition, Food Bank As It Is, Magic Breakfast; National Federation of Women's Institutes; Nourish Scotland; Food Ethics Council; Food Matters; Oxfam GB; The Food Foundation; The Methodist Church; The Trussell Trust; Independent Food Aid Network; Student Christian Movement; Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; Quakers in Britain and United Reformed Church.