Letter: Hungry Britain

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The Independent Culture
Hungry Britain

Sir: Your report "The poor of Britain are going hungry" (15 October) struck a chord with us in Scotland. The 1993 report Scotland's Health - A Challenge to Us All identified Scotland as having one of the worst diets in Europe.

The Edinburgh Community Food Initiative was set up in 1966 in the light of this report. The project develops and supports food co-ops by providing fresh fruits and vegetables and cheap quality foods. By providing a neighbourhood delivery service, reliance on public transport to out-of-town supermarkets is reduced, and more spending is generated in the local economy. The project is developing individuals' confidence and self-esteem through teaching cooking skills. A community cafe training and information pack gives advice on how neighbourhood cafes can offer low-cost nutritious food.

The cost of living for the poorest in our society is greater than for the better off. It costs them more to do almost everything, including shopping. Credit terms are invariably fixed at higher rates of interest, Power Cards are on a higher tariff than regular meter charges. It can be argued that the poor are subsidising the rich to get better deals.Trying to live on benefits means no contingency money and the food element of their budget is the only one that can be squeezed.

MARJORIE SHEPHERD

Edinburgh Community Food Initiative

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