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What could politicians do to help food insecurity?

Children were clear that politicians should make sure all children have enough food:

“They usually help people, like children who need food.”

“Because they should.”

“Because it’s important.”

“Because children can get ill and politicians should care.”

“Because they care about children.”

“They’re meant to look after us, they shouldn’t just be sitting there not caring and eating all the food.”

And children generally agreed that this required taking some action, with a number of children emphasising that outcomes of action should be that everyone has enough healthy food that is not too far away in distance to reach:

“Some new rules so people won’t just be that way, poor and homeless, and so we don’t just ignore them.”

“Make sure everyone has enough food and water.”

Some actions which children suggested specifically related to the cost of healthy food:

“Maybe in the shops they should make fruit and veg cheaper.”

“Or they can make sweets higher so that nobody can buy them.”

“If you can make the veggies and the good things you’re meant to eat lower, then people can know that they can buy them.”

Other suggestions related to health and social policy more generally:

“They could make a new law that you have to eat fruit, they could say that everybody needs to have 5 a day. Maybe can say you have to.”

“We can make some rules for the parents who don’t really care about fruit… Maybe they could say, you’re banned from the sweets and unhealthy things for like a month or so and that would get them into eating fruit and when this is over, they can’t eat the sweets because they’re too used to the fruit.”

Some children suggested actions related to redistributing money:

“I think you should try and persuade them but you don’t force them because it’s their money and they’ve worked hard. Even if they won the lottery, it’s their money, and it’s just chance, but you shouldn’t say you have to give it to the poor because it’s their money.”

Many of the children focused on the role of charitable responses, though emphasised the need for these to be healthy and not too far away, including suggesting delivery as an option:

“Saying we want you to go to a food bank, helping you if you need to travel a lot, and asking if you have any healthy food.”

“I think we should try and encourage people to give money to other people, if people are poor and they don’t have enough to get what they need.”

“Well, I think we should make a little charity thing and then people can help and children in poverty get, it’s sort of like a food bank thing, but with food and clothes and water and everything that someone would need. You could maybe encourage people to help the charity and get more things for it.”

“They can sometimes buy some food and deliver it to people.”

One child emphasised the unfairness of relying on others for food, they explained that by living they meant having food, a house, clothes, and being able to go places:

“Living is more important than just surviving.”

When asked specifically about whether every child has the right to food during the agree/disagree game children unanimously agreed, though recognised the challenges:

“People don’t agree. They actually do have the right but people don’t agree to have the right, so they don’t respect their rights.”

“I agree because if you are a doctor, you are meant to do everything you can to save someone, whether you’re helping a robber, someone who’s a terrorist… You’re always meant to do the same thing. And people need to live.”

Children also talked about ways of making sure actions are working:

“You could say ‘if we help you, you have to promise you write to us’ and say, like if you have kids, yeah our kids are safer and more healthy, and they’ve eaten more and more happy, and they’ve got more foods.”

“They never run out of food, they always have loads and loads and loads of food. They always organise it before, planning each meal out. For breakfast, they organise it the night before… they always have everything planned out.”