23 June 2020
Food Access for Vulnerable People
Further to our letter of 17 June 2020 Minsters may we update you on this relevant critique https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/21/government-attacked-for-ignoring-expert-advice-on-nutrition-in-food-parcels?CMP=share_btn_link were HMG is attacked for ignoring expert advice on nutrition in food parcels.
Whilst we understand “Welsh Government are currently reviewing the food box scheme and considering a number of issues including value for money, box contents and dietary requirements” we suggest Covid19 also raises a number of wider issues that require active consideration, including increased horticulture production. Are you able to ask HMG to publish:
- What assessment they have made of the number of people likely to have insufficient money to be able to buy the food they need during Covid-19? (or during Covid-19 lockdown?) [It is our understanding that Defra staff have been valiantly attempting roughly to assess the scale of need. Big scary figures, but we think this needs disaggregating into those who don’t have enough money for food.
- What assessment has HMG made of any specific categories of people likely to be especially vulnerable to household food insecurity during Covid-19? (or during Covid-19 lockdown?) And what assessment has HMG made of any groups of people likely to experience household food insecurity during Covid-19 whose situation will not be eased by increased social security benefit payments during Covid-19, due to the benefit cap remaining in place during Covid-19?[A number of organisations have highlighted some of the interventions by DWP will not benefit vulnerable people – especially families with children – as these exceed the benefit cap so cannot be claimed. Food Foundation has estimated numbers.]
- We understand HMG have made assessments of various scalable options for helping economically vulnerable people to access food during Covid-19 (or during Covid-19 lockdown). If this is case, could HMG be asked to share its analysis of what theoretical maximum proportion of household food insecurity they might expect charitable food banks to be able to address in the emergency food response?
We have copied in other Welsh Ministers but others could have an interest in these matters.
Yours sincerely, David Smith
Secretary,Co-ops & Mutuals Wales