Ministers are to hold the first of a series of meetings aimed at helping food banks after pressure from MPs to address hunger in the UK, Coffee House understands.
Early in the New Year, the Cabinet Office and the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will host a summit for all the big supermarkets where they will demand retailers reduce the amount of food that they throw away, and work out how to redistribute food that hasn’t been bought so that food banks and other charities can make sure it goes to people who are hungry.
Rob Wilson is the minister notionally responsible for food banks (after quite an impressive row within the government about who should have to deal with them), and will jointly chair the summit with Environment Secretary Liz Truss. They expect to leave with an agreement with the retailers about cutting down on food waste.
The government seems to be focusing on food waste in its response to the all-party parliamentary report on hunger, which was published last week. This is a very good start as the scale of food waste coupled with the scale of demand for food banks is terrible. But the report’s recommendations go much further than that. It will be interesting to see if the government’s response ends up being confined to food waste.