The damning UK stat everyone should see on #WorldHungerDay

Tins of food with a banner that says "Welcome to food bank Britain"
Support us and go ad-free

Friday 28 May is #WorldHungerDay. And while lack of access to food is a huge problem in the world’s poorest nations, it’s also a major issue in the UK.


As the #WorldHungerDay website noted:

Hunger is not just about food. Hunger and poverty are inextricably linked to a nexus of issues including: the rights of women and girls, income opportunities, health, education, social justice, the environment and climate change.

This year, #WorldHungerDay is focussing on:

the critical importance of access to education, healthcare and technology in ending hunger.

The scale of the problem globally is staggering. The World Hunger Clock keeps a live count of people in food poverty. As of 11:30am on 28 May, over 2.4 billion people live in “moderate” or “severe” food insecurity; over 819 million of these are classed as severe, and over 161 million children have impaired growth (“stunted”) due to a lack of food:

World Hunger Clock 28 May

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The problem of food poverty also exists in the UK.

A very British problem

As foodbank charity the Trussell Trust tweeted:

During the financial year 2020/21, the Trussell Trust said it saw a 33% increase in use on the previous year. It also gave out food parcels to nearly one million children.

But the Trussell Trust seeing an explosion in demand is the tip of the iceberg. And it’s not just a coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic problem either.

Massive food insecurity

The World Health Organisation and other groups class food insecurity as people who have “limited access to food … due to lack of money or other resources”. As the charity Church Action on Poverty wrote, food insecurity in the UK has been a huge issue for years. It noted that:

The Government’s own research conclusively shows that, even prior to the pandemic, one in twelve of all households in the UK were experiencing low or very low levels of food security.

Drilling into the data, it found that in 2019/20:

  • 43% of households on Universal Credit “experience low or very low food security – over five times the national average of 8% across all households”.
  • 26% of household on the benefit “are ranked as having ‘very low’ food security – more than six times the national average of 4% for all households”.
  • People on other benefits “experiencing low or very low levels of food security” were as follows: Income Support (36%); Jobseekers Allowance (37%); Employment Support Allowance (31%).
  • “One in four households in receipt of carers allowance and more than one in five households in receipt of personal independence payments are food insecure”.
An issue of class and protected groups

The data also found that some groups experience “particularly high levels of household food insecurity”:

  • “31% of working age households living in social housing experience food insecurity compared to just 3% of owner occupiers”.
  • “29% of single parent households”.
  • “25% of households with one or more unemployed adults under state pension age”.
  • “19% of households with one or more disabled adults under state pension age”.
  • “19% of black households, compared to 8% for the general population”.
How have we got here?

As Church Action on Poverty summed up:

It is an indictment of successive Governments that benefit levels across the board have been allowed to drop to such low levels that we have reached this stage.

Millions of families face worrying whether their food will run out before they get money to buy more; can’t afford balanced meals; skip meals or are forced to eat less than they should because there isn’t enough money for food.

Whether or not the UK will be in the same or a worse position on the next #WorldHungerDay remains to be seen. But unless urgent action is taken, it is, unfortunately, unlikely to improve any time soon.

Featured image via Paula Peters 

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. At the HEIGHT of the Irish Famine, the UK State was still exporting food out of Ireland. The British Empire literally starved to death more people than Stalin did – as a deliberate policy. If you are poor, you are unternmensch to the British elites. And that includes the national population. The soldiers sent to Bangladesh to steal their food (And starve up to another 30,000,000 of the poor souls), many of them were physically stunted from being poor in the ‘homeland’. While the grotesquely wealthy were deformed by over-eating.

      What has changed? The kids of the wealthy and elites are still sent to the Public schools, the little shits come out with the same brainwashed opinions created 2000 years ago by Greek and Roman racists and fascists as every previous generation.

      Jacob Grees-Moog is not an outlier for that class.

      People are starving to death in the UK because of the Class System, and there was a 3 decade period when that was frowned upon because of post-WW2 values.

      The Fash are back with a bang.

      Needless to point out, the effects of nutritional starvation, educational sub-invesment, and absolute-poverty welfare levels, will tend to push the population towards simplistic ideas in the Murdoch Empire, who will blame “Immigrants” or “The Left” for their traumas, rather than the Tories and offshored billionaire oligarchs.

      I’m sure this is completely unintentional and had never crossed the decision-makers minds. Persons such as Priti Itself have only the BEST interests of the Great Unwashed Public, of that we can be certain.

      Our Overlords do not want us to look like the health, well-fed and well-educated Scandinavians, but the precise opposite.

      With the ongoing changes caused by Bezos, we can expect a further million or so retail workers to join the numbers of starving.

      He doesn’t even pay any tax as he destroys our economy.

      Not that the taxes would be used for OUR benefit, anyway.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.