This tragic story emanating from the UK just doesn’t seem to go away. Probably because it’s true. The food crisis across the pond first came to my attention in earnest back in October when the Red Cross announced it was set to provide food aid to the UK for the first time since World War II.
The latest twist to this unacceptable saga comes via a letter send by a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities to the British Medical Journal calling it a “public healthy emergency” and accusing the government of covering up the problem by delaying a report on the subject.
Hunger in Britain has reached the level of a “public health emergency” and the Government may be covering up the extent to which austerity and welfare cuts are adding to the problem, leading experts have said.
In a letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities said that the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needed to be “urgently” monitored.
A surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action,” they write.
Despite mounting evidence for a growing food poverty crisis in the UK, ministers maintain there is “no robust evidence” of a link between sweeping welfare reforms and a rise in the use of food banks. However, publication of research into the phenomenon, commissioned by the Government itself, has been delayed, amid speculation that the findings may prove embarrassing for ministers.
Chris Mould, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, the largest national food bank provider said that one in three of the 350,000 people who required a food bank hand-out this year were children.
In their letter, Dr Taylor-Robinson, Professor Whitehead and colleagues cite figures recently released by the Government which revealed a surge in the number of malnutrition cases diagnosed at English hospitals since the recession – up from 3,161 in 2008/09 to 5,499 in 2012/13. They also draw attention to reports from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found a decrease in the number of calories purchased by families, as well as “substitution with unhealthier foods, especially in families with young children”.
Fortunately for the UK, they are blessed with a concentration of oligarchs with supposedly extraordinary capabilities so they should be able to sort this all out in now time. Isn’t that right Boris Johnson?
Full article here.
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