Debate to decide if Carlisle will become a 'Right to Food' city

Carlisle City Council are debating the idea. Credit: ITV Border

Pressures on disadvantaged families in the wake of Covid-19 have been highlighted by a councillor who is proposing that Carlisle be declared a 'Right to Food' city.

Carlisle City Council is due to meet on Tuesday, November 9, when Lisa Brown, the Labour councillor for Denton Holme, will propose that Carlisle becomes a 'Right to Food' city, joining Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

Cllr Brown, who also runs Carlisle Community Help Affordable Food Hub, said: "There's going to be a bit of a push but it's the right thing to do."

If Carlisle City Council passes the motion, the authority would pledge to support the Right to Food campaign, acknowledging that access to good quality food should be a legal right.

The motion also proposes that the council's chief executive should write to the Government imploring that the Right to Food Bill is enshrined in law.

Liverpool became England's first Right to Food city in January, imposing a statutory obligation on the city council to make access to food in the area a legal right.

Cllr Brown said: "It's just time to start waking up to the fact that some people can't eat and they don't have access to good food. It's to avoid us becoming a food bank society."

She has seen the impact of financial pressures on struggling families.

Figures obtained by No Child Left Behind report that 4,469 are living in poverty in Carlisle.

The affordable food hub has already seen a rise in footfall since the Universal Credit uplift was cut.

Cllr Brown said it is important that the food disadvantaged families are given is of a high standard.

"We can help by doing small things," she said.

"The Right to Food isn't just some fancy left wing idea we've brought up. The Right to Food is as much about access for all and dignity for all and food being a human right."

In her motion, Cllr Brown will call on the executive, officers and scrutiny panels 'to support local recognition of food poverty and insecurity as issues demanding priority action; to pledge to measure annually food insecurity in Carlisle as a whole; develop and work with communities to understand need accurately'.

A Government spokesperson said:

They added: “Meanwhile, we’re helping vulnerable households with the cost of essentials through a new £500m Household Support Fund, our £220m Holiday Activities and Food programme over the Christmas break and our Healthy Start vouchers – which help disadvantaged pregnant women or those with children under four to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.”

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