Rotherham becomes one of the first councils to support “right to food” to be enshrined in law

Rotherham council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to support a campaign for the right to food to be enshrined in UK law.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 12:41 pm

Following a motion at yesterday’s (March 3) full council, councillors voted in favour of a campaign fighting food poverty which could see the right to food enshrined in law, following Liverpool, Manchester and Salford councils’ examples earlier this year.

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The motion adds that Rotherham faces a “consistently” high rate of poverty, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty.

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Councillors in the meeting.

Councillor David Sheppard introduced the motion, telling the meeting: “It saddens and angers me that in the fifth largest economy in the word we are still failing millions of people

“We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘the first duty of government is to keep citizens safe, and the country secure’, which is heard when huge amounts of money are asked for, and almost always given, for weapons that supposedly keep our country secure.”

Coun Sheppard added that the access to nutritious food is a “fundamental security of life for us all”, and that a “staggering” one in seven households of adults living with children have reported moderate or severe food insecurity in the last six months – which equated to four million people including 2.3 million children.

Many other councillors spoke in support of the motion, with Councillor Wendy Cooksey seconding the motion, telling the meeting: “Undoubtedly, the ideology of neoliberalism inextricably linked to Margaret Thatcher in this country has caused the rise in income inequality.”

Councillor Brian Steele added: “This government makes Margaret Thatcher look like the fairy godmother.

“No child in this country, or any other country should starve.”

Sarah Norman, the chief executive for the council will now write to Henry Dimbelby, asking for the right to food to be included in his National Food Strategy.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.