Right to Food Motion – Cllr Jacob Huntley proposing speech
In 2016, appearing on Question Time, the film director Ken Loach asked then Business Secretary Greg Clark, ‘How can we live in a society where hunger is used as a weapon?’
It isn’t a rhetorical question. It’s a question that affects too many people in the UK today. And it’s a question that recognises this isn’t occurring through happenstance.
We’ve seen the deliberate political choice of austerity facing people with having to make decisions between food or fuel. Or people in employment, including nurses and care workers, having to make use of foodbanks. The shameful fact of people having to go hungry in the fifth wealthiest economy in the world has been highlighted by this council before.
That is why this motion seeks to ensure that the fundamental right to food is enshrined in law and the Government, charged with these obligations, can be held to account where this right is violated.
The National Food Strategy will make recommendations towards a Government White paper in Parts 1 and 2 of its report. This motion seeks to endorse some of the recommendations made in part 1 and calls for bolder, radical proposals to be made, including the right to food.
Austerity was always a choice. The money is there. Over the course of the past year, in excess of 1000 central Government procurement contracts have been made public and billions of pounds have been directed to firms connected to the Tory party. Companies awarded contracts for unusable products, with no experience or weeks from being established. These companies have all profited. And profited enormously.
In the face of that wealth, where people go hungry when they simply cannot afford to eat, we can only identify a systemic inequality. This inequality must be challenged. And in doing so this motion aligns Norwich City Council with other authorities who seize the initiative in addressing that inequality. I hope all members here tonight will support this motion and de-weaponise hunger.