Siân Gwenllian MS claims there are “practical solutions” that aren’t being implemented
The Member of the Senedd for Arfon is referring to a new study from the University of Sheffield on the UK’s local “food insecurity” stats.
The study highlights areas in the UK where residents most struggle to afford or access food. According to the University of Sheffield, the study shines a light on those “experiencing hunger, to those just one emergency away from going without food.”
The information is available according to local authority areas.
In one out of every six of those areas, rates of hunger exceed the national average by more than 150%. Researchers have said they hope the study “will help local authorities and government agencies address the problem at local levels.”
“Food insecurity” has been described by researchers as “the inability to consistently afford, access and utilise the food needed to maintain good health and wellbeing.”
The stats compromised of “adults experiencing hunger because they did not have enough to eat” and they were accurate as of January 2021.
The figures were put in three categories; those who were
- “hungry”, unable to eat food because they could not afford it or were unable to access food.
- “struggling”, struggling to access food, include those who may have sought help within the last month with access to food, have cut back on meals and healthy foods to stretch tight budgets, or indicated that they struggled to access food in some way.
- “worried”, those worried about being able to continue to supply adequate food for their household.
Those categories were then ranked in 5 tiers.
Siân Gwenllian, the Member of the Senedd for the Arfon constituency, which lies within the Gwynedd local authority has reacted, after it was revealed that Gwynedd was in the highest tier in two categories, and in the fourth category in one.
“These stark figures are heart-breaking. Behind the statistics are real people, and real families, either struggling every day to put food on the table or living with the constant anxiety of not being able to.
“Everyone will condemn these stats, but the reality is food insecurity and hunger aren’t inevitable. Both are avoidable.
“The Welsh Labour Government is showing a complete failure of leadership, and there are practical solutions that aren’t being implemented.
“Back in 2020, the Child Poverty Action Group revealed that more than half of children in Wales who live below the UK poverty line are not entitled to free school meals. That’s 70,000 individual children.
“But the Welsh Government have refused Plaid Cymru’s persistent calls to extend that eligibility criteria. They claim that financial costs are a barrier.
“But the reality is, if the political will were there, and if it would be a priority for this Welsh Government, it would be implemented.
“These recently revealed statistics are a shameful indictment of the Welsh Government’s ineptitude to get to grasp with food poverty.
“Urgent action is needed.”
The data, modelled by the Food Foundation, can be viewed as a map, which can be found here.