Model motions for constituency Labour parties

Motion 1 is for submission to the Shadow Cabinet. Motion 2 is a shortened version for submission to Conference.

Motion 1:

Labour Charter on Hunger

[XXXXX] CLP notes that:

  • The United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the UK is a signatory, states that ‘the right to adequate food is indivisibly linked to the inherent dignity of the human person and is indispensable for the fulfilment of other human rights enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights’. It further affirms that ‘states have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger’.
  • In 2009 there were 20 Trussell Trust food banks in the UK. Now there are 428, operating out of 2,000 distribution centres, plus over 800 independent food banks. From April 2018–March 2019 the Trussell Trust gave out a record 1.6 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis.
  • Nearly one in five children under 15 lives in a home where their parents cannot afford to put food on the table, according to a report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.
  • Government has utterly failed to respond to the growth of food poverty since 2010.
  • The Labour manifestos of 2015 and 2017 included no pledges to combat food poverty.

[XXXXX] CLP believes that:

  • By its failure to respond to food poverty, the UK government has breached its legal obligations with respect to the right to food affirmed by the United Nations.
  • Food banks should not be treated as a substitute for the welfare safety net, nor allowed to become part of the UK’s welfare system. Food waste is not the solution to food poverty.
  • Food poverty is a public health emergency that requires an urgent, targeted response from government.
  • The Labour Party must embrace a comprehensive strategy on food poverty so that the next Labour government will be able to tackle hunger immediately on taking office.

[XXXXX] CLP therefore calls upon the Shadow Cabinet to adopt the Labour Hunger Campaign’s Charter on Hunger (reproduced below) and to include Part II of the Charter in its next election manifesto.

Charter on Hunger

Part I: In Opposition, Labour will:

1. Require all Labour councils to have a Food Poverty Action Plan in place.

2. Working with food poverty charities, develop a strategy that will provide immediate hunger relief to vulnerable groups as soon as a Labour government is elected. 

3. Appoint a Shadow Minister for Household Food Security, with responsibility for the areas outlined in Number 5 below.

Part II: A Labour government will:

1. Axe the current five-week wait for Universal Credit and pause the roll-out.

2. Lift the freeze on benefits, uprating them in line with the cost of living.

3. Restore the link between need and provision in the welfare system, by abolishing the benefit cap and the two-child limit.

4. Abolish sanctions on sick or disabled people, people in work, and all sanctions on the unemployed except those related to traditional insurance conditions (such as leaving a job voluntarily without good reason, or refusing to accept a suitable job). Even then, people must still be entitled to an income sufficient to prevent destitution.

5.  Appoint a Minister for Household Food Security to coordinate the policy response to food poverty across government departments. The Minister must ensure that government fulfils the Right to Food enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

6. Work with food poverty charities to provide immediate hunger relief for vulnerable groups, funding this as necessary, and introduce a target to eliminate completely the need for food banks.

7. Introduce free school meals for all primary-school children.

8. Increase the free school meals allowance for secondary schools to a minimum of £4 per day, and allow it to be used at any time of day and carried over between days.

9. Give local councils a statutory duty to provide wraparound holiday care for primary school children that includes meals, and provide ringfenced funding for this – as outlined in Frank Field’s draft School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill.

10. Launch a campaign to remove the stigma around claiming benefits, including free school meals. This will include the promotion of a positive vision of the welfare state, one that points out that we all benefit from state support, be it parental leave, healthcare, pensions or education. To tackle the demonisation of benefits claimants, Labour will consider classifying attacks on them as hate crime.

11. Enshrine a definition of household food insecurity in law and set government targets to eliminate it. The definition will encompass not just the inability to afford food but the inability to afford, or have access to, a healthy diet.

12. Ensure that the welfare state functions as the frontline against destitution once more by giving the Department for Work and Pensions a statutory responsibility to prevent destitution, including a duty to seek out those at risk and provide appropriate support.. Any elements of conditionality that are retained in the welfare system must never again be allowed to leave people without the means to support themselves.

13. Raise the minimum wage to a Living Wage, in consultation with the Living Wage Foundation.

Motion 2 (shortened to 250 words for Conference submission:

Labour Charter on Hunger

Conference notes that:

• There is a crisis of hunger in the UK, resulting from the government’s austerity policies. As a result, last year the Trussell Trust gave out a record 1.6 million emergency food parcels.

• The UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the UK is a signatory, states that ‘the right to adequate food is indivisibly linked to the inherent dignity of the human person and is indispensable for the fulfilment of other human rights enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights’. It further affirms that ‘states have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger’. 

• The 2015 and 2017 Labour manifestos included no specific pledges to combat food poverty.

Conference believes that:

• By its failure to respond to food poverty, the UK government has breached its legal obligations with respect to the right to food affirmed by the United Nations.

• Food banks should not be treated as a substitute for the welfare safety net, nor allowed to become part of the welfare system. Food waste is not the solution to food poverty.

• Food poverty is a public health emergency that requires an urgent, targeted response from government. The Labour Party must prepare a comprehensive strategy on food poverty so that the next Labour government will be able to tackle hunger immediately on taking office.

Conference therefore calls upon the Labour Party to include in its next manifesto the Labour Hunger Campaign’s Charter on Hunger.