Tackling poverty and the cost of food: parliamentary briefing

The NHS Confederation sent a briefing to MPs ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on tackling poverty and food costs that took place on 1st March 2023.

1 March 2023

Read the briefing (PDF) External link icon

Greater food insecurity could affect people’s physical health and mental wellbeing, and create unmanageable pressure on already stretched NHS services. It is estimated that malnutrition costs the NHS £19.6 billion a year.

Because of this relationship between the cost of food and health, NHS leaders are concerned about rising food cost inflation on local communities. This briefing includes case studies of how NHS leaders are already working to support patients, communities and staff.

The briefing calls on government to make a number of policy changes to help reduce the health impacts of the rising cost of food, particularly on those for whom rising prices have the biggest impact:

  1. Follow the example of Wales and the Greater London Authority to extend the rollout of free school meals to all primary school-aged children.
  2. Uprate benefits in line with inflation at the Spring Statement on 15th March 2023. 
  3. Adopt a cross-government approach to this issue to reflect the impact the rising cost of food has on public services.