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Other things to be said about Feeding Britain

02 January 2015


From Mr Laurence Young

Sir, - The Archbishop of Canterbury's use of the Mail on Sunday, rather than being "shrewd" (Press, 12 December), publicised the thoughtful and constructive Feeding Britain report by use of vague and emotive phrases, and thus merely helped frame debate into a hackneyed party-political context.

Unlike the more rumbustious Faith in the City report of 1985, which overtly sought to place many social ills of the day at the doorstep of the Thatcher government, Feeding Britain seems a set of more measured, collaborative insights, identifying, for example, that up to one third of foodbank use is generated not by a systemic UK famine, but by government departments' needing a kick up their administrative backsides to get them to make payments promptly.

Such a PR-driven approach also sidelined significant work being done by foodbanks, acting not just as distribution centres, but places of outreach, where genuine longer-term social problems are beginning to be uncovered and addressed.

In addition, the tactic diverted attention from underlying drivers of poverty and from scandalous issues such as the UK's vast food waste: "4.3 million tonnes of surplus food [is] produced each year by retailers and their suppliers."

It can be argued that Faith in the City led to a raft of UK inner-city improvement and regeneration initiatives that had long-term and positive outcomes. Let's hope Feeding Britain has a similar effect.

3 Dark Hill, Davington
Kent ME13 7SP

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