According to Michael Gove, the companies producing food are “incentivised” with tax benefits to send all of their Food Waste to green energy plants to be converted into energy. This means that they’re being deterred from donating the food waste to charities that would give it to the homeless and needy. This comes after there have been some accusations in Parliament recently that the government are too lax with the homeless issue.

Gove says that “much, much more” needs to be done in this area, as the tax incentives meant that a lot of homeless people across the UK were left to starve on Christmas Day.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of food (literally) is getting ploughed into the ground or getting mushed up and funnelled into green energy plants, simply because it’s cheaper than transporting it to charities for the needy.

FareShare, a charity set up to provide food for those who need it, are calling for the government to set up a fund of £15 million that would pay for the transportation and storage of all of those tons of food. If the government did agree to spend this much, then they would be providing the charity with the chance to feed more than one million people every single week for an entire year. If the government refused to do this, then they really are – as FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell says – “morally broken.”

13,000 tons of food going to the homeless when it could be over 100,000

There’s the possibility for hundreds of thousands of tons of unused food to be going to charitable organisations such as homeless shelters, hospices, and women’s refuges, whereas at the moment, there is only 13,000 tons going out.

This sounds like a lot, sure, but you have to imagine just how many people are struggling to feed themselves in this country. There are more than 250,000 people who are homeless across the UK, and it’s not just homeless people who are starving.

And that’s not even the point. The point is that there is all this food that could be going out to charities in order to feed people who need, and it’s not, simply because the government is offering tax benefits to companies that don’t do that.

Lindsay Boswell is right – it is “morally broken.” He runs the food charity FareShare and he says that there are not any tax incentives offered by the government whatsoever for companies who donate surplus food to the needy.

Michael Gove has said that food which is “in perfect condition” is being converted into energy, rather than being given to those less fortunate who need it, because the tax incentives offered by the government is that “a guaranteed minimum price per unit” is paid for the energy generated by the green energy plants.

However, there isn’t a thing offered to companies that donate food to charity. Then again, one could argue that they should just do it out of the goodness of their hearts, but at the end of the day, these are corporations that we’re talking about.

Storage another part of the problem

Storage is one of the biggest parts of this problem, because there’s no tax incentives for farmers and food production companies to keep their produce in edible condition. So, why would they do that if it’ll cost them money they don’t need to spend? The storage costs money and the transport costs money, and nothing about the whole situation makes food makers want to spend all that money just to get food to 250,000 starving people who need it.

According to statistics posted by FareShare, storing and transporting the unused food for charitable purposes costs around £150 per ton. So, for 100,000 tons to be stored and transported, they’re calling for the government to fork over £15 million. And compared to what the government hands out overseas, this is a really trivial amount.