The Government must provide more funds for FareShare

Last Thursday in the House of Commons Jessica Morden who is the Labour MP for Newport East in South Wales raised a very significant question to the Government as part of several questions under the theme of Food Security. The Minister who responded was Victoria Prentis who is the Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who works for George Eustice, the Minister in charge of the DEFRA agency. On the Same day that Jessica asked her question there was also a set of topical questions directed to Eustice and one of them came from Chris Stephens who is the SNP MP for Glasgow South West.

Jessica Morden: With studies showing that 9.9 million people across the UK cut back on food or missed meals altogether in April, why are the Government cutting money to FareShare, which, in my constituency, has supplied the equivalent of 63,200 meals to charities over the past year?

Victoria Prentis: We have worked very closely with FareShare, an organisation that I have the utmost respect for, during the last couple of years in particular. Tackling poverty in all forms is a real priority for the Government and the Chancellor has now committed £37 billion-worth of support as part of a package to help families with food costs.

Very sadly the Government response, while it sounded very positive, simply ignored the nature of the question. The question that came from Chris Stephens was

Chris Stephens: Almost 343,000 meals were redistributed in Glasgow South West thanks to FareShare and other charitable organisations, yet FareShare says that its Government funding has been cut. Does the Secretary of State intend to meet FareShare and concerned Members of the House to discuss its funding, so that we can support its #FoodOnPlates campaign?

George Eustice: I met FareShare recently to discuss a particular proposal it had around trying to ensure that waste on farms was redistributed where possible. We did increase the funding for FareShare temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic, and we continue to support it, but obviously I will look into the specific case he raises.

As it happens last June 29th I set out this petition which sadly only achieved 3,469 signatures which at the time I was very disappointed about it. However I was searching for it today and discovered that there are a total of 40,409 petitions historically. Of these a massive number of 36,009 received less than 100 signatures. As it happens my petition is 39,329 on the list so it is almost in the top 1,000 petitions which I found fascinating.

Provide additional funding for redistributing surplus food

In April the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on the Government to provide ongoing funding to redistribute surplus food from the farmgate and across the supply chain to food aid providers. In June the Government said there were no plans for further grants. This should change. A Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair told the Committee “that the Government takes food waste very seriously” and that she expects “this to be an area in which we continue to work as Government”. We need the Government to provide public funding to enable the many agencies to carry out the work necessary to prevent food waste and improve food security.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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