The National Food Strategy interim report has been published today. The report takes significant learnings from the Covid-19 crisis and explores what it has taught us about the food system in the UK. We welcome the report’s ambitious targets for Government action.
There is a wide set of complex problems within the UK’s food system and this new report emphasises how important it is to develop a joined up solution. The Covid-19 crisis has thrown into sharp relief the scale of food insecurity in the UK.
As the country recovers from Covid-19, it is essential that we also resolve the climate, nature and health crisis. We must ensure everyone can access and afford a healthy and sustainable diet by fixing our food supply chains and levelling social inequalities.
The interim report includes some bold recommendations. While there is still far more that needs to be done, we welcome the ambition of the National Food Strategy. The report recommends that dietary health inequalities must be tackled, the Free School Meal scheme should be expanded to every child from any household where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit, and that when negotiating our new trade deals the Government must protect environment and animal welfare standards.
Rob Percival, Soil Association’s Head of Food Policy, said:
“We fully support the recommendation that Free School Meal eligibility should be extended to all children in receipt of Universal Credit. The thresholds are currently too low, meaning more than a million vulnerable children are missing out on the meal that they deserve. We urge the Government to move quickly to implement this recommendation. The Universal Infant Free School Meal policy should also be retained – there should be no trade off. We know that universal school meal provision helps to level inequalities in health and attainment. Now, more than ever, we should be building on the example set by Food for Life schools and caterers and investing in children’s health through high quality school meals.”Read the Soil Association’s full response here.