At its recent meeting on 27 August, the Executive agreed to recommendations on tackling food poverty and insecurity in our borough.
Cllr Angela Goodwin, Lead Councillor for Housing, Homelessness, Access and Disability, said: “There are some areas of our borough that are experiencing inequalities.
“In these neighbourhoods over a quarter of children are living in poverty, and it is not only problems with benefits that cause food poverty, as some families with both parents working also struggle to pay for food.”
Recommendations to tackle food poverty and insecurity include:
• providing food aid as part of a wider umbrella project delivering a range of services
• the Leader of the Council will write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions outlining the problems caused by Universal Credit and other welfare reforms, calling for immediate action
• to agree that food poverty and insecurity are issues needing priority action
• support that pay should reflect living costs, the Council should be an accredited real Living Wage employer and promote the Living Wage scheme to employers locally
Cllr Julia McShane, Lead Councillor for Health and Wellbeing, the Voluntary Sector, Grants Panel, Play Strategy and Project Aspire, added: “The Executive are grateful for the work of the group, led by Cllr Goodwin, for highlighting the impact that food poverty has on far too many families on our borough.
“While recognising many of the underlying issues are outside the control of the Council, I am determined that we take the actions we can to help those affected. I am grateful to all of those that work in our community to help those in need and I will be working with the group to see what more we can do and plan to provide an update on progress to Overview and Scrutiny in November.”
Proposed actions include:
• Increased promotion of existing initiatives that target food poverty and insecurity and provide help to residents in hardship (including, Surrey’s Local Assistance Scheme, the Discretionary Housing Payments fund, Guildford’s Local Council Tax Support Hardship fund, the Mayor’s Local Distress Fund, and emergency food aid providers).
• publicising, including on the Council’s website and through partners, the current provision of food aid that is accessible to Guildford Borough residents.