Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

How Can Households Eat in austerity? Challenges for Social Policy in the UK

  • Elizabeth Dowler (a1) and Hannah Lambie-Mumford (a2)

Abstract

In the United Kingdom many households are seeing their food security suffer through rising food and fuel prices, economic recession and welfare reform. Household budgeting priorities by necessity tend to be towards expenditures whose default consequences are severe; food budgets are where people can and do make economies. People manage variously on minimal diets, food gifts and charitable support, but the consequences in terms of social wellbeing and nutritional health, while potentially severe, are hidden and individually embodied rather than monitored and addressed by society. This article discusses the potential consequences of these shifts in household food provisioning under conditions of increasing austerity. The challenges posed for social policy are explored, particularly in relation to changes in welfare provision, the increasingly prominent role of the voluntary and community sector and potential devolution of responsibilities to local levels.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      How Can Households Eat in austerity? Challenges for Social Policy in the UK
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      How Can Households Eat in austerity? Challenges for Social Policy in the UK
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      How Can Households Eat in austerity? Challenges for Social Policy in the UK
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aldridge, H. and MacInnes, T. (2014) Multiple Cuts for the Poorest Families, Oxford: Oxfam, New Policy Research Institute.
APPG (2014) The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty, http://foodpovertyinquiry.org/ [accessed 24.07.2014].
Ashton, J. R., Middleton, J. and Lang, T. (2014) ‘Open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on food poverty in the UK’, on behalf of 170 signatories, Lancet, 383, 9929, 1631.
Attree, P. (2005) ‘Low-income mothers, nutrition and health: a systematic review of qualitative evidence’, Maternal and Child Nutrition, 1, 4, 227–40.
BBC (2014) ‘Councils spending £3m on food poverty and food banks’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26369558 [accessed 24.07.2014].
Beattie, J. (2014) ‘27 bishops slam David Cameron's welfare reforms as creating a national crisis in unprecedented attack’, Daily Mirror, 19 February, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/27-bishops-slam-david-camerons-3164033 [accessed 27.07.2014].
Beatty, C. and Fothergill, S. (2014) ‘The local and regional impact of the UK's welfare reforms’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 7, 1, 6379.
Butler, P. (2013) ‘Food vouchers to provide emergency help but prevent spending on alcohol’, The Guardian, 26 March, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/mar/26/payment-cards-emergency-assistance-food-stamps [accessed 24.07.2014].
Butler, P. (2014) ‘Hunger is a “national crisis”, religious leaders tell Cameron’, The Guardian, 16 April, http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/16/million-people-britain-food-banks-religious-leaders-faith-groups [accessed 27.07.2014].
Citizens Advice Bureau (2014) Advice Trends: Quarterly Client Statistics of the Citizens Advice Service in England and Wales 2013–4, Quarter 4, http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk//advice_trends_may_2014.pdf [accessed 24.07.2014].
Cooper, N., Purcell, S. and Jackson, R. (2014) Below the Breadline: The Relentless Rise of Food Poverty in Britain, Manchester: Church Action on Poverty, Oxfam, Trussell Trust, http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/breadline [accessed 24.07.2014].
Cracknell, R. (2013) ‘Estimating the costs of tax and benefit changes by gender’, Commons Library Standard Note 06758, House of Commons Library, London.
Department for Work and Pensions (2013) Local Authorities and Advisers: Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy, London: DWP, https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/series/local-authorities-removal-of-the-spare-room-subsidy [accessed 10.12.2014].
Davis, A., Hirsch, D. and Padley, M. (2014) A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2014, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
De Schutter, O. (2010) ‘Food commodities speculation and food price crises: regulation to reduce the risks of price volatility’, United Nationals Special Repporteur on the Right to Food Briefing Note 02, http://www.srfood.org/images/stories/pdf/otherdocuments/20102309_briefing_note_02_en_ok.pdf [acccessed 24.07.2014].
Defra (2012) Family Food 2011, London: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Defra (2013) Food Statistics Pocketbook 2012 (in year update), London: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Dowler, E. (1997) ‘Budgeting for food on a low income: the case of lone parents’, Food Policy, 22, 5, 405–17.
Dowler, E. (2003) ‘Food and poverty in Britain: rights and responsibilities’, in Dowler, E. and Finer, C. Jones (eds.), The Welfare of Food: Rights and Responsibilities in a Changing World, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 140–59.
Dowler, E., Caraher, M. and Lincoln, P. (2007) ‘Inequalities in food and nutrition: challenging “lifestyles”’, in Dowler, E. and Spencer, N. (eds.), Challenging Health Inequalities: From Acheson to ‘Choosing Health’, Bristol: The Policy Press, pp. 127–55.
Dowler, E., Kneafsey, M., Lambie, H., Inman, A. and Collier, R. (2011) ‘Thinking about “food security”: engaging with UK consumers’, Critical Public Health, 21, 4, 403–16.
Dowler, E. and O’Connor, D. (2012) ‘Rights-based approaches to addressing food poverty and food insecurity in Ireland and UK’, Social Science and Medicine, 74, 1, 4451.
Dowler, E. and Lambie-Mumford, H. (2014) Food Aid: Living with Food Insecurity, Working Papers of the Communities and Culture Network, Leeds: Communities & Culture Network.
Food Ethics Council (2010) Food Justice: The Report of the Food and Fairness Inquiry, Brighton: Food Ethics Council, http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/uploads/publications/2010%20FoodJustice.pdf [accessed 24.07.2014].
Greater London Authority (2013) A Zero Hunger City – Tackling Food Poverty in London, London: Greater London Authority.
Goode, J. (2012) ‘Feeding the family when the wolf's at the door: the impact of over-indebtedness on contemporary foodways in low-income families in the UK’, Food and Foodways: Explorations in the History and Culture of Human Nourishment, 20, 1, 830.
Griffith, R., O’Connell, M. and Smith, K. (2013) Food Expenditure and Nutritional Quality over the Great Recession, IFS Briefing Note BN 143, London: Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Hansard (2013) Debate on Food Banks, volume 572, column 806, 18 December, House of Commons, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131218/debtext/131218-0003.htm#13121855000003 [accessed 24.07.2014].
Hossain, N., Byrne, B., Campbell, A., Harrison, E., McKinley, B. and Shah, P. (2011) The Impact of the Global Economic Downturn on Communities and Poverty in the UK, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Kennedy, S. (2012) ‘Localisation of the social fund’, Commons Library Standard Note 06413, http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN06413/localisation-of-the-social-fund [accessed 24.07.2014].
Irving, Z. (2013) ‘Themed section: work, employment and insecurity’, Social Policy Review, 25, 203–6.
Just Fair (2014) Going Hungry? The Human Right to Food in the UK, London: Just Fair, http://just-fair.co.uk/hub/single/going_hungry_the_human_right_to_food_in_the_uk/ [accessed 24.07.2014].
Lambie-Mumford, H. (2013) ‘“Every town should have one”: emergency food banking in the UK’, Journal of Social Policy, 42, 1, 7389.
Lambie-Mumford, H., Crossley, D., Jensen, E., Verbeke, M. and Dowler, E. (2014) Household Food Security: A Review of Food Aid, Report to Defra, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/food-aid-research-report [accessed 21.02.2014].
Lang, T., Barling, D. and Caraher, M. (2009) Food Policy: Integrating Health, Environment and Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lucas, P., Jessiman, T. and Cameron, A. (2015) ‘Healthy Start: the use of welfare food vouchers by low-income parents in England’, Social Policy and Society, forthcoming.
Lupton, D. (1996) Food, the Body and the Self, London: Sage.
Maslen, C., Raffle, A., Marriott, S. and Smith, N. (2013) Food Poverty: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?, Bristol: Bristol City Council.
Perry, J., Sefton, T., Williams, M. and Haddad, M. (2014) Emergency Use Only: Understanding and Reducing the Use of Food Banks in the UK, Oxford: Oxfam.
Poppendieck, J. (2014) ‘Food assistance, hunger and the end of welfare in the USA’, in Riches, G. and Silvasti, T. (eds.), First World Hunger Revisited: Food Charity or the Right to Food?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 176–90.
Riches, G. (1997) ‘Hunger and the welfare state: comparative perspectives’, in Riches, G. (ed.), First World Hunger: Food Security and Welfare Politics, Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, pp. 113.
Riches, G. and Tarasuk, V. (2014) ‘Canada: thirty years of food charity and public policy neglect’, in Riches, G. and Silvasti, T. (eds.), First World Hunger Revisited: Food Charity or the Right to Food?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 4256.
Riches, G. and Silvasti, T. (eds.) (2014) First World Hunger Revisited: Food Charity or the Right to Food?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Royston, S. and Rodrigues, L. (2013) Nowhere to Turn? Changes to Emergency Support, London: The Children's Society.
Trussell Trust (2014) ‘Latest foodbank figures top 900,000: life has got worse not better for poorest in 2013/14 and this is just the tip of the iceberg’, press release, 16 April, http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-figures-top-900000 [accessed 08.07.2014].
Which? (2013a) ‘Waiting for the squeeze to end’, Quarterly Consumer Report, July, http://www.staticwhich.co.uk/documents/pdf/quarterly-consumer-report-july-2013-327238.pdf.
Which? (2013b) ‘Weathering the economic storm’, Quarterly Consumer Report, October, http://www.staticwhich.co.uk/documents/pdf/quarterly-consumer-report-october-2013-338223.pdf [accessed 22.11.2013].
Wills, W. (2011) ‘Introduction to food: representations and meanings’, Sociological Research Online, 16, 2, 16.
Women's Budget Group (2012) Impact on Women of the Budget 2012, London: WBG, http://www.wbg.org.uk/RRB_Reports.htm [accessed 10.12.2014].

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed