Ministers must consider perpetuating the law as the right to food and necessity appoint a new minister for food security, according to an influential committee of lawmakers, after the coronavirus pandemic was seriously affected by the government’s handling of the food system in a crisis.
The second wave of Covid-19 can sharply increase the number of people the risk of food shortages and hunger, which has reached 6.6 million, including 1.7 million children, according to a report on the environmental, food and rural affairs committee.
Panic purchase – which is often only consumers responding to the need to eat all food at home – and lacking some staples in stores, marked the start of the Covid-19 crisis after the government failed to communicate properly with the community and the food industry, MPs on the environmental, food and rural affairs committee were found in a new report.
The government “seems unprepared” for the impact of closing restaurants and cafes, they said, and is too slow to provide guidance for workers in the food supply sector.
They warned that Britain was facing a more serious threat to food supplies, including a second wave of coronaviruses, the possibility of a disagreed Brexit, and in the long term climate crisis, this would require more intervention by the government. The UK remains supplied during locking by food imports from abroad, but disruptions to cross-border trade can trigger a more serious impact on food availability.
During the initial lockout phase, there were reports of farmers pouring fresh milk, or can’t find a market for meat and fish. There is a call for a ground troops to bring the harvest, if foreign workers cannot be brought in, and worries will end food waste as well as deficiency.
Neil Parish, chair of the committee on environmental selection, food and rural affairs, said: “Despite warnings from other countries, it seems the government has continued to catch up in trying to support the food industry during the crisis. There is a misunderstanding in government about where and how people will get their food before and during locking. “
He warned that “a surge in urgent demand for food aid” was “likely to get worse before it gets better”, with people driven out of jobs and the economy in recession.
Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of the Sustain food and agriculture alliance, said lawmakers were right to express concern, because the Covid-19 crisis highlighted a longstanding problem. “For too long, the government ignored that fact millions of people experience household food insecurity every day. “They won’t even measure it properly, so we can all face the facts and discuss what needs to be done about it,” he told the Guardian.
He called on the government to ensure that the elderly and people with disabilities, who received food packages while protecting, were not left without provisions, and for ministers to prepare now for the second wave.
The committee pays tribute to key workers in the food industry, as well as food banks and other food redistribution organizations that serve vulnerable people, which the chairman praises as “reacting heroically”. The response from the department on environmental, food and rural issues was also considered satisfactory in many respects in the end. But lawmakers insist more must be done to ensure a better response to threatening threats.
Geraint Davies, Labor MP for Swansea West, and a member of the committee, pointed to the fact that 6.6 million people are currently in food insecurity, in the midst of a full supermarket and temporary leave provisions remain in place.
“This is an embarrassing condition of Britain after ten years of austerity,” he said. “But there are many bad things that will happen. We face the edge of the cliff end of leave in October, when Britain prepares for a second wave of coronavirus followed by irregular Brexit. The combination of greater financial pressure on the poorest families along with the rise of disease and food shortages will add millions to food insecurity and hunger in Britain. “
Earlier this week, the National Food Strategy recommended extending free school meals for 1.5 million other children living in low-income families, and for school vacation clubs that offer healthy food. The government was forced to make a U-turn in June after Manchester United soccer player Marcus Rashford raises fears of starving children when vouchers given to replace free school meals must be stopped during the summer.