Slough Express

Commons Sense

- By Slough MP Tan Dhesi

Sadly, food insecurity is increasing­ly prevalent in our society – having serious ramificati­ons on household finances and leaving many parents with the heart-breaking choice of eating or heating. This is the reality many ordinary, hardworkin­g people face up and down our country.

According to new data from the Food Foundation, 8.8 per cent of households experience­d food insecurity last month – that’s 4.7 million people. Astonishin­gly, 3.6 per cent of adults (1million people) reported they, or someone in their household, had to go a full day without eating last month, because they couldn’t afford or couldn’t access food. This only gets worse if you consider that 12.1 per cent of all households with children have experience­d food insecurity – that’s 2million children without access to a healthy or affordable diet.

The statistics are quite frankly staggering. Millions of ordinary Brits are one lower-thanexpect­ed pay slip, or one unexpected bill away from not being able to eat; and their children who, through no fault of their own, might have to go to school hungry. Yet supposedly, we’re a ‘developed nation’ with the fifth largest economy in the world.

How is a child meant to learn deprived of energy? How is a parent meant to be productive at work? Food poverty entrenches poverty. It robs people of the basic ability to strive for a better life. This is all while an entirely unsympathe­tic, callous Conservati­ve Government continues to fail to provide even adequate support, or an adequate social security safety net. Tory politician­s do not understand the financial struggles or pressures many working people face.

Instead of people being reliant on the amazing generosity of charities and foodbanks, we need a comprehens­ive plan that tackles the root causes of poverty. On the one hand, we need support now so that people across Britain can eat and heat their homes – one that doesn’t simply put people into debt to the state or loan sharks. On the other, we must reform the social security system and increase the minimum wage, so that everyone can afford to live in modern Britain – it’s merely common sense.

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