justfair Going Hungry? The Human Right to Food in the UK A Case Study of ICESCR Monitoring in the UK justfair Article 11(1) ICESCR … recognises the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. Article 11(2) guarantees the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger justfair UK Right to Food Obligations The UK has signed and ratified, and is therefore legally bound by, the ICESCR. The UK reports to the CESCR on a five yearly basis regarding implementation of the ICESCR, including the right to food, in the UK. The UK Government will submit the state report for the sixth CESCR periodic review in June 2014, with the last review having taken place in 2009. justfair Human Right to Adequate, Accessible and Available Food According to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Article 11 ICESCR guarantees the right to adequate, accessible and available food. justfair Human Right to Adequate Food justfair Human Right to Adequate Food Adequacy: food must satisfy dietary needs, taking into account the individual’s age, living conditions, health, occupation, sex, etc. justfair Positive Steps The Government have introduced policies to tackle modern malnutrition and obesity: Free school meals plan, ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People' action plan on obesity, Improved food labelling and new guidance on physical activity justfair From 2007 to 2012, expenditure on food in the UK rose by 19.9%, but the actual volume of food consumed declined by 7.3% (Centre for Economics and Business Research, 2013) justfair Average calorie density of households’ purchases increased by 4.8%, on average, between 2005–07 and 2010–12 (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2013) justfair Number of malnutrition related admissions to hospital in England has increased by 74% since 2008-09, in correlation with food bank usage (British Medical Journal, 2013) justfair Human Right to Adequate Food CONCLUSION: Available evidence highlights a worrying trend of backward steps (i.e. retrogression) with regard to the right to adequate food RECOMMENDATION: Review and revise policies for tackling malnutrition, taking into account the correlation between rising food bank usage and increased malnutrition related hospital admissions. justfair Human Right to Accessible Food justfair Human Right to Accessible Food Economic accessibility: food must be affordable. Individuals should be able to afford food for an adequate diet without compromising on any other basic needs, such as school fees, medicines or rent. Positive Steps March 2014, raise minimum wage to £6.50 per hour (and call for £7) to tackle ´cost of living crisis´ Sept’ to November 2013, the percentage of people in work reached 72.1%, up by 450,000 a year earlier justfair Real wage growth averaged 2.9% in the 1970s and 1980s, 1.5% in the 1990s, 1.2% in 2000s, but has fallen to minus 2.2% since the first quarter of 2010 (Labour Market Survey, 2013) justfair Food prices have risen by 22% in the UK between January 2007 and May 2013 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2013) justfair Fall in Real Food Expenditure (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2013) Trussell Trust food voucher distribution by type of crisis – 18.45% due to low income (Trussell Trust, 2013) justfair justfair 170% Rise in Food bank Usage (Trussell Trust, 2013) justfair UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (The Guardian, 2013) “... Food banks should not be seen as a "normal" part of national safety nets … Food banks depend on donations, and they are often run by volunteers: they are charity-based, not rights-based, and they should not be seen as a substitute for the robust social safety nets to which each individual has a right.” justfair DEFRA “Household Food Security in the UK: A Review of Food Aid” (DEFRA, 2014) While "food aid may provide immediate relief for household members ... [it] has a limited impact on overall household food security status", and "is not able to address and overcome wider determinants (root causes) of household food insecurity." justfair Right to Accesible Food CONCLUSION: While the Department for Work and Pensions policy of food bank ´signposting´ may help to provide immediate relief against hunger, by providing a minimum package of calories, proteins and other specific nutrients, it fails to achieve progressively the full realisation of the right to adequate food Right to Accesible Food justfair 1. RECOMMENDATION: While taking into account the rising costs of living, including food, fuel and housing prices, investigate whether incomes are inadequate to guarantee the right to food for all. 2. RECOMMENDATION: Take immediate steps to ensure that food banks are not used as a substitute for a comprehensive social security system administered by the state. justfair National Human Right to Food Strategy justfair Human Right to Food Strategy CONCLUSION: Individual right to food-related policies, such as the free schools meals plan, though progressive in their own right, cannot guarantee the right to adequate food for everyone in the UK, unless they are connected through an overarching national rights-based food strategy. justfair Human Right to Food Strategy RECOMMENDATION Formulate a national right to food strategy and action plan, which incorporates indicators, benchmarks and time-bound targets. This strategy should include the following: Urgent assessment of the state of enjoyment of the right to food in the UK; Monitoring of DWP ´sign-posting´ to food banks; Right to food impact assessments for all new legislation.