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DREW HENDRY: Community helps out in face of political failure

By Drew Hendry

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Val Cooper, Ana Cuadrado, Heather Mackenzie, Roy Harrison, Lainey Anderson and Carol Lawson. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Val Cooper, Ana Cuadrado, Heather Mackenzie, Roy Harrison, Lainey Anderson and Carol Lawson. Picture: James Mackenzie.

It’s clear, speaking to people on their doorsteps across our constituency in the past weeks, the most pressing concern, along with mortgages and rents, is food inflation.

The escalating prices of daily essentials are leaving a profound impact, especially on those most vulnerable.

The average rate of inflation on food remains stubbornly high at around 17 per cent, and staple foods – pasta, rice, bread etc – are often higher, recording rises of upwards of 80 per cent in the last year. Where are people supposed to find the money for this when they are already maxed out?

Figures show that the most deprived 20 per cent of our population now have to spend half their disposable income on food for a healthy diet. This is alarming, yet, amidst the challenges, some are trying to offer hope.

We see the true spirit of Highland hospitality and compassion here as local businesses and organisations rally to alleviate the pressures, even if only for an hour or two. Cafe 1668 on Church Street in Inverness has become a beacon of support, offering free lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to anyone who asks.

InSpire at Inverness Cathedral, understanding the importance of nourishment for our young minds, has been handing out free packed lunches for schoolchildren over the summer holidays.

Drew Hendry
Drew Hendry

There is also a range of offers at places like Loch and Larder and The Three Witches, where generosity and community spirit are on the menu, and everyone is welcome to a warm meal at a discounted cost. Generous initiatives from local businesses that deserve our praise.

These efforts are more than just a temporary relief; they are a testament to the resilience, kindness, and solidarity that define the Highlands. Overcoming the current crisis may be arduous, so it is heartening to know that our community is united in purpose and action.

Everyone should have access to healthy food and essentials.

This situation is a shameful reflection of the lack of support and action from the UK government that, through Brexit and the Truss/Kwarteng “mini-budget”, has set much of this in train. Winter will be here before we know it, and many, including those in work, will suffer without further intervention.

As your MP, I stand committed to doing everything I can to press Westminster to see sense and act. I’ll also be working with local authorities, organisations, and our communities to find ways to navigate this crisis and look ahead with hope.

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