Call for evidence: All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger

17 September 2015

The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) will be co-ordinating a response to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger follow up evidence of the progress made since the recommendations of The Feeding Britain report published in December 2014 by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty.

The APPG are looking into publishing a follow up report later this year, by way of auditing the progress made in their initial recommendations and assessing some of the wider developments that have impacted upon the numbers in this country who are hungry. They hope to learn from this exercise which policies could most effectively counter hunger in the year ahead and beyond.

The Feeding Britain report made 77 recommendations based on the vast number of submissions that were received throughout the inquiry. So far the APPG have secured action on more than one third of these recommendations. Those who served on the inquiry recently published an update on the work they have undertaken to follow up on the report. Additional reports by the inquiry team can be found by visiting www.feedingbritain.com.

The closing date for the submission is 5pm on Friday 30 October. The NHC would like to hear from members around the following points outlined by the Hunger Inquiry team:

General

  1. How has your work around tackling food poverty and hunger progressed and developed?
  2. What barriers are there to your work?
  3. What are the trends in demand for your services and how have they changed over the past year?

Relieving and preventing hunger

  1. What are the key problems facing people who are hungry, in respect to their living costs such as rent, food, water, communications, transport, gas and electricity?
  2. If a food assistance provider, are you collecting and publishing data on the reasons people are coming to you for food assistance?
  3. If a referral agency, are you collecting and publishing data on the reasons for which you are referring people to a food assistance provider?
  4. If yes, have you been able to differentiate between, and therefore categorise, the various benefit-related causes behind each case of hunger? What room is there for improvement in this field, and how many and what proportion people who find themselves hungry have been affected by each benefit-related cause?
  5. Does your data show that benefit delays have become more frequent, do they last longer and are they now more likely to occur at the start of a new claim, or when an existing claim is recalculated? From the data you collect, which particular benefits are most troublesome in this respect?
  6. Have you had any experience with people in receipt of Universal Credit? If so, how do the numbers compare with those in the present system, and what difficulties have they encountered that have exposed them to hunger?
  7. Aside from living costs and benefit-related issues, what other factors are causing people to be hungry and how has this affected demand for food assistance? In particular, how has the number of people turning to you for assistance because their wages are insufficient to make ends meet changed?
  8. Have you been able to provide advice and advocacy alongside an emergency food parcel or meal, along the lines of a ‘Food Bank Plus’ model outlined by the inquiry, and what impact has this had on the numbers of people who are hungry?
  9. How has your work been affected by, and interacted with Local Welfare Assistance schemes?
  10. Is there any sign of ‘giving fatigue’ when it comes to food donations, and how might this be resolved? Are charitable food supplies able to keep up with demand?
  11. Do you forecast that the numbers of hungry people will increase or decrease in the year ahead?

Measuring hunger

  1. Are we any closer to knowing how many people in this country are hungry?

Rescuing good quality surplus food

  1. How much good quality food becomes surplus in the food retail and manufacturing sectors, and how much of this is recued for human consumption?
  2. How might we ensure more good quality food that becomes surplus in the food retail and manufacturing sectors can be rescued for human consumption? In particular, how can we overcome the barriers to redistributing large quantities of surplus food and perishable goods like fruit and vegetables?
  3. What impact might this have on the numbers of people in this country who are hungry, and why?
  4. Should we follow France’s lead by legislating to ban food waste in the retail sector?
  5. Do you believe the UK would benefit from a law similar to the ‘Good Samaritan’ law in the United States, which protects charitable food assistance providers and donors from legal action?

Child hunger

  1. How big an issue has child hunger become – both during term time and the school holidays – and how should this be ameliorated?

Recommendations

  1. What new commitments should we seek from the Government, and from which departments, to relieve and prevent hunger in this country?
  2. What new commitments are required from organisations in the private and voluntary sectors that would help maximise the effectiveness of anti-hunger strategies?
  3. What particular role do you believe Feeding Britain could take on, both locally and nationally, to relieve and prevent hunger in this country?

Please could you send through any information for inclusion into the submission by Friday 16 October to satty.rai@northern-consortium.org.uk.

For more information on the work the Northern Housing Consortium has undertaken on health and wellbeing click here to visit the policy section.