Manchester City Council has pledged its full support to the campaign to end food poverty and enshrine in law a person’s right to access food.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic Manchester City Council and the Our Food Partnership have supported tens of thousands of people who are living in food poverty.
Exacerbated by the pandemic, the plight of ordinary Mancunians who struggle to feed themselves and their families has been laid bare. Since December the Council alone has delivered food to more than 1,000 families through its Food Response Partnership, and it is estimated that more than 50,000 people have received food through charities in the last year.
In a statement made by Cllr Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at a meeting of the Full Council, she committed Manchester to becoming a Right to Food City, and to join Fans Supporting Foodbanks in their campaign to ensure that all people have the legal right to access food.
The ‘Right to Food’ campaign, which wants to change the law to make access to food a legal right for all, believes the 11 million people currently living in food poverty in the UK must be at the heart of the National Food Strategy.
A letter will be sent from Manchester City Council to the government, outlining its position and affirming the goals set by the Right to Food campaign.
Councillor Bev Craig said: “It is simply unacceptable that in 2021, in one of the most prosperous countries in the world people are still going hungry. Manchester has a proud history of fighting for peoples’ rights and the needs of our communities, not just locally but nationally. The Council is resolute in our believe that ending food poverty is a cause more than worth fighting for.
“Manchester also has a long record of working to eradicate poverty alongside many charities and voluntary groups in the city providing immediate support, but also tackling the root causes of poverty. We have refreshed our Family Poverty Strategy to reflect the Covid crisis and have supported Mancunians through the Manchester Food Partnership, the Hardship Fund and our Welfare Provision Scheme.
“Covid has led to an increase in the levels of poverty across the country and, as a Council, we have been supportive of campaigns to alleviate hardship and reduce poverty such as the campaign to stop the cut to Universal Credit.
“This is why we are joining the call for towns and cities to come together and demand the Government guarantees the right to food and ends the scandal of food poverty.”
“Until this happens the Council will continue to offer help wherever it is needed, only stopping when every single family can access the food they deserve.”