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No-deal Brexit: Theresa May urged to safeguard emergency food supplies by poverty charities

Leaders of 15 charitable organisations have written to the prime minister calling for a 'hardship fund'

Thursday 07 March 2019 12:20 GMT
Countdown to Brexit: How many days left until Britain leaves the EU?

Theresa May has been urged by more than a dozen major charities to safeguard food supplies for vulnerable people in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Trussell Trust, Church Action on Poverty and FareShare were among 15 organisations to write to the prime minister calling for a “hardship fund”, which would be used to help those worst hit if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.

They warned that services like meals on wheels and free school dinners, as well as supplies to food banks, homeless hostels and refuges, could be adversely hit if food prices increase. These services feed millions of people every day.

Children, the elderly, hospital patients and low-income families could all be affected, the charities said.

“The UN has estimated that 8.4 million people in the UK (half of them children) experience household food insecurity – missing meals or unable to afford adequate food,” they wrote.

“Food price inflation caused by a no-deal Brexit is likely to affect these people, and the services providing food to support them, disproportionately.”

Calling on Ms May to come up with “detailed plans” to help the people most vulnerable to food disruption, they said she should work with local authorities and frontline charities to mitigate the potential risks to food supply and prices.

Britain’s food industry has already threatened to break off cooperation with the government because of the “catastrophic” risk of a no-deal Brexit.

What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

The heads of more than 30 trade associations said all attention should be focused on what they called “ever more the likeliest outcome”.

In a letter to environment secretary Michael Gove, they warned that they were unable “respond to non-Brexit related policy consultations or initiatives”.

They said: “If government seeks to press ahead with these consultations it will be seen by some as a sign of bad faith and many organisations may decline to respond.”

Additional reporting from agencies

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