Resources/Policy

March 2019

City of York Council – YFPA contributes to the review on Financial Inclusion.

This review by the Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee (CSMC) included 4 strands* in its Financial Inclusion Scoping Report.

It went on to add food poverty to the issues they were covering, as described here:

Point 10. In November 2018 CSMC considered an update report which requested
that a 19 July Green Party Motion to Council on Food Poverty be added to the review
remit. This was agreed by the Committee so the following objective was
included in the review:
vi. To understand how the above issues are linked to apparently
increasing levels of food poverty in York, including work on the
following:
 the background to food poverty in York including any
available local statistics and how local measurement might
be improved;
 the current role of crisis support in York in mitigating food
poverty;
 a range of options for the Council and its partners to
improve the city wide response to food poverty in York.

York Food Poverty Alliance’s report in response to these questions can be read here –  YFPA Report to CYC Scrutiny- Feb 2019 and you can watch the webcast of the council meeting where the review’s report is discussed – and where Jo Millner and Mary Pessari from Chill in the Community take part at the beginning, followed by YFPA’s Rosie Baker, speaking on behalf of alliance members and individuals experiencing poverty.

*The other 4 strands were:
i. The growing impact of Universal Credit is starting to be felt (and
reported by Citizens Advice York). Are processes ready and
resilient enough?
ii. The low take up of council tax discretionary reduction scheme is a
concern. How is this being advertised / signposted to potential
customers?
iii. There is an increased demand on discretionary housing
payments.
iv. The various activities initiatives aimed at addressing the cause of
financial inclusion being funded by Financial Inclusion Steering
Group. How are these awarded and how are we measuring the
benefits?

What will happen to our food supply if Brexit goes ahead? “We should prepare for a bumpy ride” says Food policy expert, Lindy Sharpe.

November 2018

Whether you are for or against Brexit, it is important to think about its impact on the food system. We attended a York for Europe event on 21st November, focusing on how women would be affected by Brexit, and guess what? – access to food is one of the main areas that will affect women and children more than men. Expert on food policy, Rosalind Sharpe from City University, warned that

“Food insecurity could be one of the first and most tangible effects after Brexit and we should prepare for a bumpy ride”.

She went on to explain why:

  1. Food is a big economy in the UK!

2. Paperwork nightmare!

= 850 bits of food legislation to deal with.

= the bureaucracy of Brexit is costing (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) billions which is come consider very wasteful.

3. Food is our “ultimate commodity”

After Brexit?

☹ Food poverty will grow and more women will feel the brunt by skipping meals.

☹ Risks towards environmental and food standards from new, non-EU trade deals: there is a report in today’s Guardian in which a US official is suggesting the need for the UK to align with US standards.

☹ The door would be left open to cheap food imports which could undercut UK farmers and drive standards here down and/or put farmers out of business.

☹ Civil unrest is a strong likelihood in times of food shortages.

What are the key policy recommendations then?

Dr Sharpe summarises here the big issues at the moment:

As part of Sustainable Food Cities, York Food Poverty Alliance is in touch with Sustain, who are coordinating Brexit-related food information for civil society groups, so do get in touch for updates on this crucial policy area, email: yorkfoodpovertyalliance@gmail.com

“In all of the above, public awareness and engagement will be critical” (Dr Sharpe.)

 

Other Information links:

“Many of them could be implemented at relatively little cost, but would make a real and immediate difference – for example, funding local schemes so that children do not go hungry during the school holidays. Other recommendations will require more concerted and longer-term action to ensure that people are paid a decent wage and that there is an adequate safety net to support people during difficult times in their life, such as an illness or the breakdown of a relationship. If we are to eradicate food insecurity, then we must commit to these shared goals – and we need to start measuring the scale of the problem, so we can see the progress that is being made.”  Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester.