ARFON MS Siân Gwenllian has said ‘practical solutions’ are not being implemented after a new study regarding the UK’s ‘food insecurity’ revealed worrying results.

The study, from the University of Sheffield, showed that one in six UK local authorities have hunger rates exceeding the national average by more than 150 per cent.

The figures, accurate as of January 2021, consisted of adults who were ‘hungry’, ‘struggling’ or ‘worried’ about being to continue to supply adequate food for their household. These categories were then ranked in five tiers.

The Arfon constituency lies within the Gwynedd local authority, which was placed in the highest tier in two categories, and in the fourth in another.

Mrs Gwenllian said: “These stark figures are heartbreaking. Behind the statistics are real people, and real families, either struggling every day to put food on the table or living with the constant anxiety of not being able to.

“Everyone will condemn these stats, but the reality is food insecurity and hunger aren’t inevitable. Both are avoidable.

“The Welsh Labour Government is showing a complete failure of leadership, and there are practical solutions that aren’t being implemented.

“Back in 2020, the Child Poverty Action Group revealed that more than half of children in Wales who live below the UK poverty line are not entitled to free school meals. That’s 70,000 individual children.

“But the Welsh Government have refused Plaid Cymru’s persistent calls to extend that eligibility criteria. They claim that financial costs are a barrier.

“But the reality is, if the political will were there, and if it would be a priority for this Welsh Government, it would be implemented.

“These recently revealed statistics are a shameful indictment of the Welsh Government’s ineptitude to get to grasp with food poverty. Urgent action is needed.”

Researchers have said they hope the study ‘will help local authorities and government agencies address the problem at local levels.’

‘Food insecurity’ has been described as ‘the inability to consistently afford, access and utilise the food needed to maintain good health and wellbeing.’

The data, modelled by the Food Foundation, can be viewed as a map, which can be found here.