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NE GT food & poverty fabian 2015 2 prefaceThe ‘Hungry for Change’ report was launched in parliament this week. Highlight snapshot from Geoff’s preface follow, right:

The commissioners’ recommendations include:

  • A pilot tax on sugary drinks so that the efficacy of taxes on unhealthy food and drink can be assessed.
  • A review of current advertising codes to identify where existing rules are being flouted and children are being bombarded by unhealthy promotions.
  • A new cross-departmental minister with responsibility for eliminating household food insecurity in the UK.
  • Action to reduce acute household food insecurity caused by social security benefit sanctions, delays and errors.
  • An inquiry to identify effective ways of removing poverty premiums for key living costs including food, utilities, housing, household appliances, and transport.
  • Local authorities establish food access plans that will address any physical barriers to affordable, nutritious food in their area.


NE GT food & poverty fabian 2015 graphic

Managing poverty: the Fabian Commission has uncovered a crisis of food access for many households in the UK. There are multiple cases of parents – usually mothers  – going hungry to feed their children or having to prioritise calories over nutrients to afford their weekly food shop. Many people are feeling a deep sense of anxiety from the struggle to manage serious squeezes in household budgets that arises from the cost of living rising faster than income.

The Commission defines this state of living as ‘household food insecurity’: the inability to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so. But a lack of official measurement means nobody can be clear how many people are affected by household food insecurity in the UK.

Reducing and eventually ending household food insecurity needs an active approach from government to tackle its structural drivers, and the Commission have produced a 14 point plan for how the government can create a food system that works for people on and near the breadline.

Read the full report here >>

A message from Cultivate, which works with FEASTA

An invitation from Cultivate to The Convergence Festival which builds on Ireland’s rich tradition of co-operatives and the current interest in community ownership


Cultivate  is a practical sustainability organisation which aims to equip people to respond to the twin issues of energy vulnerability and climate change by providing access to the knowledge and tools that cultivate sustainable lifestyles and resilient communities. It ‘co-works’ with think-tank Feasta, co-founded by New Era networker, the late Richard Douthwaite, which aims to identify the characteristics (economic, cultural and environmental) of a truly sustainable society, articulate how the necessary transition can be effected and promote the implementation of the measures required for this purpose.

Read more here:

News from Sabine McNeill: November 5th London meeting

The issue of children’s rights is being recognised as pan-European

With the scandalous and heart-rending case of the couple whose baby was adopted after they were unjustly accused of mistreating him – and the apparent unwillingness of the authorities to return the child to his maligned parents, we recognise the need for work done by people like Sabine.


Regular readers will remember July’s post in which it was recorded that MPs Austin Mitchell and John Hemming both encouraged/congratulated Sabine on going to Brussels as all three agree that human rights issues are not ‘getting anywhere in the UK’. The latest news:

sabine 2posterBackground: at the end of May Sabine had welcomed ‘a critical new beginning’, as Latvian Tatjana Zdanoka, a young MEP, took the lead in the EU Parliament. Latvian Laila Brice who has been fighting Merton Council for her daughter for years presented her petition on the same day as Sabine did in March last year. Since then, Latvia and Lithuania have followed Slovakia in questioning the UK Government.

In meetings and by handing a folder of evidence to EC vice president Frans Timmermans, Sabine has been operating on behalf of all the children who have been wrongly taken into care and adopted against their parents’ will. To hear an EU presentation by Sabine click here.

News from Scientists for Global Responsibility




Messages for the Paris conference: The forgotten dimensions of climate change

SGR conference and AGM 2015: Saturday 31 October, The Gallery, Farringdon, London EC1M 6EL – 10.30 to 16.15

We will discuss a range of climate change issues which, although important, are unlikely to feature in the formal negotiations in Paris. Nevertheless, we ignore them at our peril…

Abstracts from the speakers – and their impressive profiles – may be read here:




Prof Keith Barnham, Department of Physics, Imperial College London


Dr Laurence Matthews, Cap and Share UK



Dr Philip Webber, Scientists for Global Responsibility


Tamara Lorincz, International Peace Bureau

Please visit our Registration page on EventBrite.

A welcome ‘character reference’ for Sabine McNeill

In view of the incidents detailed in the July post, this testimonial from Canon Challen, with whom Sabine worked for many years on monetary reform issues, is heartening.

peter challenI testify out of 25 years association with Sabine McNeill in the longing and action of searching for inclusive justice, that she is a woman of stature among many with whom she has worked, and with many more for whom she has spoken out bravely in complex, sometimes crucifying, situations. She has high intelligence, a rather rare selflessness in her gifts of time and energy and a persistent altruism that makes her fearless in the cause of compassion. She has shared with those she meets a vision and passion for a rediscovery of genuine justice in society, giving a sense and place of identity and dignity to everyone without fear or favour.

I have witnessed occasions when she is speaking, as so often she does, in support of others less articulate and informed than she, when her passion may have over-ridden discretion; but I have never doubted the sincerity and integrity to which she is devoted.

Being outspoken in a society where vested interests often hold powerful sway requires courage. Sabine McNeill is a person of such courage in setting an example from which many have benefited.

Sabine and I have in common the oddity that we each had a father who urged us to retain integrity with the refrain: ‘All Power to Your Elbow’, which led us both on our life-long paths to speak out for compassion and against injustice.

Rev. Canon Peter Challen
Chair, Christian Council for Monetary Justice

News from FEASTA

feasta header

FEASTA, co-founded by the late Richard Douthwaite and now represented by Caroline Whyte, sends news of the visit of Thomas Greco, the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, who will be participating in events in Cloughjordan, Dublin and Belfast. Several readers will remember meeting  him on earlier visits to Britain.

When: August 28th and 29th
Where: CONNECT 34 Westland Row, Dublin 2

In late August, Thomas will be participating in four other events in Ireland. From August 25-27 he will be at the Cloughjordan eco-village where he will take part in the P2P Summer School : The Art of Commoning, described fully at

thomas grecoOn the evening of Friday 28th, Thomas will give a presentation on The Liberation of Money and Credit, outlining the fundamental importance of reclaiming the credit commons and showing how communities and businesses can reduce their dependence on bank borrowing and conventional, political forms of money.

The event will be hosted by CONNECT (formerly CTVR –, at their Dublin city centre venue and supported by Feasta. After the talk Thomas will join a panel of Michel Bauwens and Kevin Flanagan of the P2P Foundation, Rachel O’Dwyer of Trinity College and Graham Barnes of Feasta for a Q&A session. Registration for this event is here.

On Saturday, Thomas will run a one day workshop for currency activists, practitioners, researchers, and social entrepreneurs on The Exchange Revolution: Taking complementary currencies and moneyless trading to a new level, also at the CONNECT venue in Dublin. Anyone with a specific interest in developing and extending the impact of community currencies, mutual credit, and other complementary exchange mechanisms is invited to attend. Online registration is here. The event will be structured along the lines of the workshop presentation Thomas did in Athens July 24-25. See:

Finally, at 7.15pm on Tuesday 1st September Thomas will lecture on Communities, Currencies and the Commons: Democratising money & enterprise after the Euro-Greek crisis at Queens University in Belfast (the University Senate Room). The event is hosted by QUB School of Law partnered by Positive Money NI. Contact:

The P2P Summer School is taking bookings now, with special rates available for the unwaged. The other events are free entry – a retiring collection will be made in all cases for participants to show their appreciation of Thomas’ work and to wing him on his way back home to the U.S. For more background on Thomas’ work see


News from Tracy Worcester

Tracy sends an update about Farms Not Factories.

farms not factory 2 logoThis year Farms Not Factories has helped local residents successfully to oppose plans to build a 25,000 pig factory in Derbyshire. To quote one of the local activists, “The commitment, passion and energy shown by the members of Tracy Worcester’s team, coupled with her natural drive and charisma attached rocket boosters to our small community campaign and provided it with traction and focus. As a result it’s gone into orbit, achieving national media coverage and greatly increased support”.

It is now providing experience, legal contacts and online activist resources to help a community in Northern Ireland to oppose plans for a 30,000 pig factory. You can sign the petition to stop it here.

tracy 1Farms Not Factories has built a national and social media campaign, highlighting the cruelty, pollution and antibiotic overuse in animal factories to show people that they can help bring an end to this dangerous and inhumane system by simply buying their pork with high welfare labels like RSPCA Assured, Free Range and Organic.

To help people find UK farms, shops, restaurants and markets that supply high welfare pork, we have developed an interactive food directory on our Farms not Factories website.

What does the future bring?

We are co-producing a commercial with the production company Quiet Storm (who also designed our fabulous new logo). For no cost to us, they are making a short video showing the expressions of famous faces (so far including, Helen McCrory, Dominic West, Miranda Richardson and Jon Snow) reacting, and then commenting on horrendous factory farm footage.

Again for free, Clive Arrowsmith is photographing the celebrities holding a small pig. These assets will be used in a social and print media campaign coordinated by media consultants Agency Eleven for release at the end of October. Through Facebook and Twitter, we are building a loud social media presence.

Tracy ends: “If you know a famous face, pleeeeeeease could you let me know so we/you can invite them to join the campaign to urge consumers to use the power of their purse to close animal factories and support family farms”