The 14 Words

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Britons suffer highest food prices in Western Europe

Britain has ranked 13th in a new global food index with Britons being forced to pay highest prices for food among other Western Europe nations.

The study carried out by the charity Oxfam ranked the countries based on four criteria including the health outcomes of people’s diet, levels of undernourishment, affordability and volatility of food prices, as well as quality of food and water.

According to the index the best places for people to eat are the Netherlands, followed by France and Switzerland in joint second. Chad came last, just behind Angola and Ethiopia, which came joint second to last. 

Britain is the world’s sixth richest country, yet British people are increasingly relying on food banks because of the coalition government’s austerity policies. 
“The UK’s failure to make the top table is a shocking indictment for the world’s sixth richest country. With a record number of people turning to food banks, the government must carry out an urgent inquiry into how welfare changes and cuts are exacerbating food poverty and deepening inequality,” said Oxfam’s chief executive, Mark Goldring.
In terms of people’s affordability to eat, the UK is the worst place in Western Europe. With more than half a million people using food banks, Britain shares the 20th position with Cyprus, with only Austrians and Icelanders faring worse.

Elizabeth Dowler, professor of food and social policy at the University of Warwick, said she was not surprised by Britain’s low score.
“I do know that some of the austerity measures have been much harsher in the UK than in, say, France or Germany,” she said. 
“Our energy prices are higher too in relation to income [than other countries in Europe]. If you cook food you need energy to cook, so they’re connected.”

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