Fabian Society to launch an independent Commission on Food and Poverty


The Fabian Society will this Wednesday (19 November) launch an independent Commission on Food and Poverty.

In recent years a number of high profile issues have pointed to significant problems with Britain’s food system – rising prices, the horsemeat scandal, excess waste, exploited workers, obesity and emergency food provision. But there has been a lack of attention on how they interact and their collective impacts on low income households, the Society claims.

The Commission on Food and Poverty will aim to address these questions through a series of public evidence sessions and site visits, and is expected to make its final recommendations in summer 2015.

The subject of the first hearing is Money and Affordability and takes place on Wednesday 19 November. This first strand will look at the price and affordability of food from the consumer perspective. This takes in to account both food prices and the ability to pay.

The hearing will be addressed by:

  • Professor Liz Dowler, University of Warwick, former member of Defra Council of Food Policy Advisers
  • Dr Clive Black, Shore Capital
  • Martin O’Connell, Institute for Fiscal Studies

The Commission will be chaired by Geoff Tansey, a writer, broadcaster and Trustee of the Food Ethics Council, who is currently a Joseph Rowntree Visionary for a Just and Peaceful World.

The other Commissioners bring expertise from government, trade unions, business and the voluntary sector. They are:

  • Niall Cooper – national co-ordinator of Church Action on Poverty
  • Tara Garnett – Food Climate Research Network
  • Diana Holland – assistant general secretary of Unite the Union
  • Andrew Kuykv– food and sustainability consultant, formerly director of sustainability and competitiveness at the Food and Drink Federation
  • Dr John Middletonv– vice president of the UK’s Faculty of Public Health
  • Jeanette Orrey – co-founder of the Food for Life Partnership