FOUR and a half months after councillors voted to to help people experiencing food poverty in Powys, a discussion will be held on how to start that work.

At the Powys County Council’s (PCC) full council meeting on July 11, councillors backed the motion that was put forward by Labour group leader, Cllr Mathew Dorrance (Brecon St John).

The purpose was to:

  • Establish a lead member role with responsibility for delivering food justice.
  • Work with community groups and partners to set up a food partnership – a non-profit organisation helping people learn to cook, eat a healthy diet, grow their own food and waste less food.
  • Task scrutiny to investigate the extent of the issue in Powys and what can be done to tackle it.

Cllr Dorrance is also the chair of the economic, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee.

Councillors had tasked a scrutiny committee to investigate how big an issue this is in Powys and what can be done to tackle it.

They had also nominated PCC anti-poverty champion, Cllr Joy Jones (non-aligned – Newtown East) as a possible lead member with responsibility of delivering food justice.

The report says the committee needs to: “Consider the terms of reference for the review which the full council has asked the committee to undertake and how to take this motion forward.”

At the meeting in July, Cllr Dorrance had said that he had seen an increase in the use of foodbanks and that he had read that there had been a 25 per  cent in demand for foodbanks in Montgomeryshire.

The motion noted:

  • According to the United Nations (UN) there are eight million people in the UK who have trouble putting food on the table.
  • Over 500,000 people used foodbanks in the UK last year.
  • The Trussell Trust alone, distributed over 1.3 million three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis in the 2017/18 financial year.
  • Three million children are at risk of hunger in the school holidays.
  • Up to one million people live in a food desert in the UK which means; neighbourhoods where poverty, poor public transport and a lack of big supermarkets severely limit access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • A significant amount of NHS budget goes on treating diabetes.

The Council further noted the UK Government’s commitment to the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, commits government to ending hunger by 2030.