Liverpool Echo

Everyone has right to healthy meal

WHEN the kids were little my first job on a Saturday morning was to write a menu for the week.

As a working mum it helped me plan meals – that way I didn’t arrive home to stare into an empty fridge while the kids screamed blue murder.

It helped me budget too but also meant I could make sure they had a decent diet. Sure, it might be pizza one night but the next it would be fish and veggies.

But I’m lucky. I live near a Tesco and I can afford to buy fresh food.

A new report this week reckons more than a million people in the UK – many here in Merseyside – aren’t so lucky. They live in “food deserts” – neighbourhoods where poverty, poor public transport and a dearth of big supermarkets limit access to affordable fruit and veg.

The study, by the Social Market Foundation, says poor, elderly and disabled people are disproportionately affected with “deserts” defined as neighbourhoods of between 5,000-15,000 people served by two or fewer big supermarkets.

It also won’t surprise you to learn that these areas also have high densities of fast food outlets.

And to compound all this, food prices rose by 7.7% between 2002 and 2016 while incomes for the poorest families fell. They’ll fall again after Work and Pensions Minister Esther McVey revealed some households will be £200 a month worse off once Universal Credit kicks in.

Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash
Desert rations … some of our poorest communities have little or no access to fresh food

This Government needs to act and act now.

Rates of obesity are on the rise. The number of people with weight related illnesses is growing. Bad diet is responsible for a whole slew of health issues – health issues which are costing the NHS millions of pounds to fix.

But prevention is better than cure. Why not offer incentives for supermarkets to move into more deprived areas?

And for God’s sake stop the roll-out of Universal Credit.

This is 2018 not Victorian England and everybody has the right to have access to a healthy meal.

IT was day two of the Marks and Spencer 90% off sale on Thursday and while clothes flew tempers flared.

But that, I was assured by till staff as I bought my (full price) winter tights, was as nothing compared to day one. Then, shoppers queued before the shop had opened before rushing in to grab armfuls of whatever they could lay their hands on, piling trollies high.

Transpires it was all going on eBay and these ‘shoppers’ were just opportunists.

I know we all have to make a living but isn’t that just plain unfair?