January 2023 – The Strategic Social Justice Clinic (SSJC) - a joint initiative between Central England Law Centre (CELC) and Warwick LinC – has published a report based on its 'Rights in Food Justice' project, which it has submitted as evidence to JustFair for inclusion in its report to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

The SSJC joins over 70 organisations and individuals from across England and Wales to provide evidence for JustFair’s report, which covers the past five years and comes from the unique vantage point of the individuals and organisations that make up civil society that are on the frontline of efforts to address poverty and inequality in the UK. 

Much of the evidence included within the JustFair report points to a government falling short in many areas and for too many people. The report is part of  the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ (UNCESCR) review of the UK, which will assess what is being done well, pinpoint where the UK is falling behind, and identify who is responsible and where things could improve.  

The SSJC report – Tackling Poverty to Achieve Food Justice: Contributions from the Advice Sector - explores the extent to which the provision of welfare rights and debt advice and information can alleviate the need for food bank use by helping those who are struggling to buy food to access and manage the state resources available to them. This has potentially significant implications for central and local government strategies for tackling household food insecurity and the report's findings and conclusions have relevance throughout the UK. 

The report found that the advisers played an important role assisting those struggling to buy food and reducing the use of food banks. But advisers identified constraints on their ability to help including:  administrative weaknesses in financial support schemes, including delays creating gaps in payments of benefit entitlements, insufficient adviser capacity and, in particular, the insufficiency of welfare benefit payments.  As one adviser explained:  

…I’ve had clients who have got no debt, that are on the basic [benefits] .. and there’s nothing you can do. There is no reduction in debt, there is no increase in the income and these people on a week-to week basis are just struggling. ….[T]he issue doesn’t go away after you’ve had your food parcel.. .. [T]here are … quite a lot of people who are on this basic low income that can never actually say that they’re out of the woods …. And that again was the case before the cost-of-living situation; it’s even worse for these people now.


This is important evidence given the UK Government’s own submission to the review which does not acknowledge the evidence of a relationship between means-tested benefits and food insecurity, or the continuing inadequacies in the welfare benefits system that pre-date recent crises.  

  • The report calls for the provision of good quality advice and information for everyone who is struggling to buy food and for reforms to the welfare benefit system so that it  pays an adequate regular income to meet essential needs.  

Read the SSJC report – Tackling Poverty to Achieve Food Justice: Contributions from the Advice Sector 

Read JustFair’s submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Further info 

The Strategic Social Justice Clinic (SSJC) is a joint initiative between Central England Law Centre (CELC) and Warwick LinC. It specialises in using public law and other rights-based strategies to address systemic disadvantage and achieve effective change. Students work with the Public Law and Human Rights team at CELC on a variety of projects that CELC would be unable to pursue without students’ support. Find out more: www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/aboutus/linc/strategic-social-justice-clinic/

JustFair is a charity which bring together social justice and human rights in the UK by monitoring and campaigning for economic, social & cultural rights.  Find out more: www.justfair.org.uk