It should be made illegal for supermarkets to throw away perfectly edible food, a group of MPs has said.
A parliamentary motion calling on the Government to force businesses to donate food approaching its best-before date to charity has so far been signed by 117 representatives.
MPs argue that a successful law could be based off a new rule brought in by the French government.
That rule applies to supermarkets over 400 square metres in size and requires affected stores to sign a contract with a charity to take the food.
The UK currently throws away 15 million tonnes of food and drink every year, half of which is said to be edible.
At the same time, around one million people in Britain rely on food hand-outs to eat, a dramatic increase in recent years.
The early day motion calling for the law change is the most signed of its kind originating from this parliamentary session.
“This House notes that the UK throws away 15 million tonnes of food and drink every year and that half of this food and drink could have been consumed; further notes that if people stop wasting edible food, the environmental benefit would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road,” the motion states.
“[Parliament] therefore calls on the Government to introduce legislation to ban supermarkets from throwing away food approaching its best-before dates and instead make it available to charities and food banks; and finally notes that such legislation has been successfully introduced in France and would have significant social and environmental benefits.”
MPs signed up to the cross-party plan include Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leadership candidate, Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s only MP, and Keir Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions.
Large numbers of Scottish National Party representatives have also signed the proposal.
Nearly 200,000 people have also signed an online petition supporting the plans.
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
“France has already proven that this can work. So I’m asking for Parliament to take this campaign seriously and rush through a change in the law as soon as possible, before anyone else in the UK starves needlessly,” the petition’s author Lizzie Swarf wrote in an article earlier last month for the Independent.
The backbench support for the measures is unlikely to translate into Government action however – early day motions have no power to force ministers to act.
According to the latest figures from the Trussell Trust charity, the number of people given three days’ emergency food rose from 2,814 in 2005-06 to 61,468 in 2010-11, 346,992 in 2012-13 and 913,138 in 2013-14
These statistics include 582,933 adults and 330,205 children.
The Government’s children’s watchdog has today called on ministers to abandoned planned cuts to welfare that they say could see child poverty soar.Reuse content