Westminster City Council is failing to secure a healthy and sustainable food future for its residents, according to the ‘Good Food for London’ report backed by the Greater London Authority.
The report, which ranks the 33 London boroughs by their initiatives and progress in encouraging residents to eat healthy and sustainable food, has named Westminster as the 21st borough in London, giving it just 4 points out of a possible 11.
The figures reveal that Westminster is failing to make any significant progress in providing healthy meals for children in schools, supporting a living wage so residents can afford to eat a well-balanced diet or in supporting fair trade food throughout the borough. Westminster is also falling behind in animal welfare, food partnerships and sustainable food growing.
In response to the report Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour group said:
“The residents of Westminster are being failed by a council that refuses to implement initiatives to encourage healthy and sustainable eating. The council’s poor performance is made all the more significant with 39% of children in the borough living in poverty. Nobody should have to choose between providing a healthy meal or paying their rent, however the Council seems to have disregard for the parents on low wages who are having to make this choice every day.
On top of this the council is failing in its duty to provide well balanced meals for school children. With 25% of children starting high school in the borough classified as obese, it is important that Westminster City Council sorts out its school meals programme and provides children with a healthy lunch.
Westminster needs to learn from other boroughs in the city such as Islington, Lewisham and Haringey who are taking on initiatives including Living Wage programmes, support for new Mums and healthy eating workshops for local restaurants. All of these programmes are making a significant difference to the lives of residents and are desperately needed here in Westminster”
Speaking about ‘Good Food for London’ Rosie Boycott, Chair of the London Food Board and Ross Compton, London Food Link Coordinator said that if boroughs in London such as Westminster “took the simple, affordable and effective action outlined in the report, it would significantly improve the health of Londoners, the livelihoods of farmers and other food producers, and the sustainability of the food system on which we all depend.”
The report is available online at http://www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/goodfoodforlondon2014/