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    ‘Providing affordable healthy food should be government’s job’

    Photo: iStock

    Four in five (80 per cent) Britons believe healthy food is something that everyone should be able to have while a good majority believes that healthy food should be one of the primary government duties.

    According to the findings of new poll commissioned by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) released on Tuesday (26), 68 per cent of Britons say it is the government’s job to make sure healthy food is affordable amidst increasing financial pressures and a worsening food environment.

    Almost half (49 per cent) stated that financial pressures have made them cut back on the quality of food they eat. The research thus reflects a worsening food environment in the United Kingdom, where an estimated 11.3 million people nationwide experience food insecurity. This is most acute in low-income areas, with an estimated 1.2 million people living in ‘food deserts’ where affordable, fresh food is severely limited.

    When asked about basic rights that are essential for a fair society, 80 per cent of the public ranked access to ‘healthy food’ as vital – second only to access to healthcare – and well above ‘home ownership’ (52 per cent), an issue traditionally prioritised by Government. 

    Responding to the findings, Sue Pritchard, CEO of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission said, “Of all the elements of our everyday economy, one of the things we simply cannot manage without is healthy food. How did this basic necessity become a luxury that few can afford? Food is at the centre of some of the biggest challenges this country faces and for many people, eating enough healthy food is becoming impossible. A smart and strategic government will prioritise action across the whole food chain, from farm to fork. And what we’re hearing from citizens is that this would be a real vote winner.

    “For starters, people tell us they are concerned about the inequalities of a system that means poor children will live shorter lives than rich ones. They are sympathetic to the challenges facing family farmers who are dealing with the impacts of climate change on their businesses. And they are worried about an NHS buckling under the pressure of diet-related ill health.

    “While difficult – this is all fixable. And as we talk to people all around the UK, it’s clear that citizens see the problem and want the Government to take control of a situation that has become untenable.”

    The FFCC has also launched the next phase of The Food Conversation to find urgent solutions to Britain’s growing food crisis. A series of in-depth citizen workshops will take place across the UK, including in marginal seats, bringing together a representative group of citizens to ask what people want from food and how they want to see things change.

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