About the Commission

The Fabian Society, with the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is undertaking an independent Commission into food and poverty in the UK.

The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty is bringing together experts in food policy and related fields including health, the environment, and education to examine how poverty relates to the food system. The Commission will be sitting over one year, reporting in Summer 2015, and will make recommendations towards the creation of a fair and sustainable food system.

In recent years a number of high profile issues have pointed to significant problems with Britain’s food system – rising prices, the horsemeat scandal, excess waste, exploited workers, obesity and emergency food provision. But as yet there has been insufficient attention to exploring the interactions between them all and their collective impacts on those in poverty.

The seven Commissioners will be supported by three groups in their work:

  • An expert panel of people with direct experience of poverty. This group, based in Manchester and Salford, are drawing from many years’ experience and expertise of living with the issues that the Commission is exploring. The group will ensure that the Commission’s work and recommendations actually work for and make sense from the perspective of people who are its intended beneficiaries.
  • A wider advisory network of experts, practitioners, campaigners, policymakers, community organisers, and people working with those in poverty. The group will advise the Commission on its work and recommendations with the aim of ensuring its work is relevant, accurate and can be widely shared.
  • A cross-party political advisory network. This network will be made up of representatives from across the political spectrum and levels of government, including local government, devolved governments, European government and the Westminster government. The group will advise the Commission on the various legislative and political environments, and aim to ensure the Commission’s work remains relevant and can achieve its desired impact.

The Commission will gather evidence from evidence hearings with expert witnesses in London, Sheffield, Lincolnshire and Glasgow, discussions with those experiencing poverty, field visits, desk research, and a wider call for evidence.

The Commission’s work will also be supported by a narrative artist. Sarah Woods will be working with the Commission throughout the year to track the developing story, and find new ways of hearing from and speaking to harder to reach communities, groups and individuals who can contribute to the Commission’s work.

The Commission will make its final recommendations in Summer 2015. The independent Commission is not party political.

The Commission’s work

The Commission’s work will be focused by five overlapping strands: money and affordability, context and access, health, the environment, and the supply chain and society.

  1. Money and affordability
  2. Context and access
  3. Health
  4. Environment
  5. The supply chain and society