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Proposals to Tackle Inequality Can Help Advance Right to Food

A major independent review of the United Kingdom’s food systems has underscored the deep inequality around access to nutritious food in the country. The National Food Strategy makes clear recommendations on using food policy to help tackle…
Students eat lunch at Chertsey High School on March 09, 2021 in Chertsey, United Kingdom. 
News

Show Spirit of the ‘Beautiful Game’ and Secure the Right to Food

Fans of European football have been on an emotional rollercoaster these past few days, as a proposal for a “European Super League” provoked anger over the greed and financial inequalities the project laid bare. With public outcry about how the plans…
A mobile food pantry with food collected by Fans Supporting Foodbanks and other local anti-poverty groups set up at at St. Mary’s Millennium Centre, Liverpool, UK. Photo shows a purple van with cases of food set up in front of it.
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Food banks, including those in the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), which the BMJ is supporting in its 2020-21 appeal, have provided a lifeline for many people in the United Kingdom who have been left vulnerable and exposed by a deeply flawed…
Abdalkarim Sama, a volunteer at Sufra Food Bank, sorts through tinned food in the storage section on site at Sufra Food Bank, in Brent, Northwest London. October 9, 2019
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Government Needs to Ensure Adequate Housing for Homeless Families

For children in the United Kingdom living in stable and secure homes, waking up in their own beds, this holiday season will be a welcome distraction from a bleak year. But many children across the country do not feel the same safety and stability when…
The interior of accommodation in Marston Court on Bordars Walk in Hanwell, west London, where converted shipping containers have been re-purposed for use as temporary accommodation, August 20, 2019. 
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UK’s Children’s Rights Record is Under Review

Over the past year, as the Covid-19 pandemic has set in and schools closed, I’ve spoken to some amazing people who are working to protect children’s rights in the United Kingdom. Katie Barry, a primary school headteacher in Lincolnshire, told me in…
Family at Food bank
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Concerns About Equal Access to the Benefit and Fresh Fears Over the ‘Five-Week Wait’

A bleak Covid-19 winter is coming. Cases are soaring and the UK government has imposed a further one-month lockdown in England. The lockdown could push more than 2 million people into furlough, or temporary leave from work. Hundreds of thousands more…
Citizens Advice operates the “Help to Claim” service, which helps people apply for Universal Credit online. 
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Summary “I skip a meal so my children can eat and to ensure that the bills are paid.” -Janet, 35, March 2020   “Janet R.,” 35, a single mother who works at a college student advice center in London, suddenly found herself on the verge…
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Government’s Flawed ‘Universal Credit’ Algorithm Pushing People into Poverty

(London) – The United Kingdom government’s rigid insistence on automating Universal Credit threatens the rights of people most at risk of poverty, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. A comprehensive redesign of how the government…
202009eca_uk_universal credit_thumbnail
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UK Puts Breakaway from European Union Ahead of Keeping People Safe

Empty shelves. Panic buying. Queues outside supermarkets. Earlier this year the British public got an unpleasant taste of what it is like to worry if food will run out. The shortages, in the early days of the Covid pandemic, occurred despite few…
The Union Flag and European Union flag fly in Parliament Square in central London, September 9, 2017.
News

Government Should Ensure Children’s Right to Food During Covid-19

As children across England return to school this week, the government should prove it has learned from its mistakes after school closures during Covid-19 left pupils going hungry. Department for Education (DfE) guidance published late last week, just…
Students wash their hands as they arrive on the first day back to school at Charles Dickens Primary School in London, England, September 1, 2020.
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A Ban on Evicting Private Tenants during Covid-19 Pandemic Ends this Weekend

The eviction ban in England expires this coming weekend and some people in privately rented housing, who have been hit by the economic downturn triggered by Covid-19 and fallen behind on their rent, are waiting nervously to discover their fate.…
Letting agents boards in London, March 2016. 
News

Ruling a Victory for Claimants’ Rights, but Problems Remain

When Rachelle, 35, a single working mother in London, received her first Universal Credit payment in March, she had a panic attack. It was far short of what she needed to pay the rent and support her two children, one of whom has a disability. “I am…
A branch of the UK employment social security agency where claimants seek assistance with their benefits, Newcastle, March 4, 2020.
News

Football Star’s Free School Meals Campaign Should Spur Wider Change

There’s a knife-edge moment football fans the world over know, when a stadium’s collective heart stops as a striker takes aim, shoots … and scores. Marcus Rashford, who plays for Manchester United and England’s national men’s team, delivered a game-…
Footballer Marcus Rashford applauds following a game.
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Uneven UK Approach for Covid-19 Doesn’t Guarantee Children’s Right to Food

(London) – Schools and charities in England have had to distribute food directly to children from poor families since the authorities closed schools to slow the spread of Covid-19 after a government-commissioned voucher system became plagued with…
A teacher collects food bags from a local food bank set up in Northampton, United Kingdom to distribute to children at her school during closures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, April 2020.
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Across the globe, people experiencing homelessness face serious risks—this was true before the Covid-19 pandemic. In many wealthy countries, homelessness has come to be seen as a fact of modern society. Some governments have claimed it can’t be…
Tents line a sidewalk on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, Saturday, April 18, 2020.
News

Mitigate Impact of Coronavirus Containment Measures on Poor Families

Update March 19: On March 18, the UK government announced that schools would close on March 20 until further notice for the vast majority of pupils. Limited school places will remain open for children of parents working in essential employment…
From left, Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Witty, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance speak during a press conference about coronavirus in 10 Downing Street in London, Monday, March 9, 2020.
News

The Growing Reality of Hunger in “Rich” Countries

  In 2020, you should be watching for more people going hungry and relying on aid to feed their families in the world’s wealthiest countries.  The United Kingdom offers a stark example, as Human Rights Watch has documented. Since…
Abdalkarim Sama, a volunteer at Sufra Food Bank, sorts through tinned food in the storage section on site at Sufra Food Bank, in Brent, Northwest London. October 9, 2019
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  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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Government Failing to Take Adequate Steps to Ensure Right to Food

  (London) – If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement, it will seriously threaten people’s ability to access and receive adequate food, including families with children, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Abdalkarim Sama, a volunteer at Sufra Food Bank, sorts through tinned food in the storage section on site at Sufra Food Bank, in Brent, Northwest London. October 9, 2019