Assembly urges Mayor to stop rising level of food poverty

05 March 2014

London is the sixth wealthiest city in the world, but over the past two years the capital has seen a 400 per cent increase in Londoners turning to emergency food aid.

The London Assembly is concerned by the increasing level of food poverty in London and today agreed a motion [1] urging the Mayor to revise the London Food Strategy and Implementation plan to address the growing food need. This should include developing plans for delivering universal healthy school meals in London.

Fiona Twycross AM, who proposed the motion, said:

“We are deeply concerned about the rising figures of Londoners going hungry, especially amongst children.

“In London, 1.2 million children do not receive free school meals and many of these children go hungry because some parents on the verge of food poverty do not qualify for the scheme.

“The Mayor needs to have a strategic approach to ensure Londoners don’t go hungry and extending free school meals to all children will go a long way to fixing the issue”.

Jenny Jones AM, who seconded the motion, said:

“There is certainly a need to revise the London Food Strategy and Implementation plan and we encourage the Mayor to do more to stop the rise of food poverty in London.

“Delivering healthy free school meals will contribute to better health and better outcomes for children across London who are increasingly exposed to food poverty.”

The full text of the motion is:

The London Assembly is deeply concerned by the increasing level of food poverty in London. 63,367 Londoners were fed by a Trussell Trust food bank in the eight months between April 2013 and January 2014. With four months of the financial year still to run, this already represents a near 400% increase in the number of Londoners turning to emergency food aid compared to two years ago (2011/12), when 12,839 people visited a Trussell Trust food bank in London.

This Assembly believes that this level of poverty and food insecurity is unacceptable in the world’s sixth wealthiest city. We call on the Mayor to take a strategic lead on this issue and to implement the relevant recommendations of the ‘Zero-Hunger City: Tackling food poverty in London' report published with cross-party support by the London Assembly Health and Environment Committee. In particular, we call on the Mayor to revise the London Food Strategy and implementation plan as a matter of urgency and to publish a paper on the possible models for delivering universal healthy school meals in London.”

Notes to editors

  1. The motion was agreed 14 votes for to 4 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.
  2. Zero-Hunger City: Tackling food poverty in London’ report published with cross-party support by the London Assembly Health and Environment Committee, March 2013.
  3. Fiona Twycross AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Alice Andrewartha in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603. For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.