Thousands back Lancashire woman's 'Right to Food' campaign
More than 16,000 people have signed a petition by a Lancashire woman calling for food to be a legal right for all.
Deborah Finn, a psychologist based in Lancaster, is petitioning Lancaster City Council to declare its support for the right to food to be incorporated into UK law.
City councils in Liverpool, Manchester and Salford have already committed to becoming Right to Food cities.
The ‘Right To Food’ campaign, believes the 11 million people currently living in food poverty in the UK must be at the heart of the National Food Strategy.
Ms Finn said: “It is unacceptable that in 2021, in one of the most prosperous nations in the world, people are going hungry.”
She said that in Lancaster, food banks have delivered more than 500 household food parcels each week during the pandemic and many more households were supported through community food clubs and outlets.
She added: “We have a strong community-led safety net in our district of which we can be proud, but this does not represent a right to food.
“Legislation enshrining this right would set out tasks and responsibilities for the wide range of public bodies that would need to take action to ensure that everyone has enough good food."
To do this, she suggests there could be measures brought in that require improvements to people’s incomes (such as requiring a Real Living Wage and implementing a Universal Basic Income), that control everyday costs (such as taking action on utility bills), and improve access to good food, such as free school meals.
Ms Finn said: "Food is a very emotive issue, it really grabs people's attention.
"In our country we have devolved responsibility, so people who need housing can get housing, education is provided, and the NHS provides healthcare for all. But while they'll give you a flat, they won't give you food. It's odd.
"It's not as simple as getting a pizza delivered for everyone, and what I think I really mean by all of this is that everybody should be able to get by. That people don't have to worry about feeding their children."
She added: "Our system depends on people being able to buy things, so, the Universal Basic Income is really needed."
A motion will be presented in support of the Right to Food Campaign at the Lancaster City Council meeting on March 24.
Ms Finn says she has been overwhelmed by the response to the petition, and is hopeful that Councillors will carry the motion.
>>>To sign the petition, click here