Every year on October 16th, people mark World Food Day. This is a day of action to tackle global hunger. The inequalities in global food poverty are stark. Closer to home, it is now the case that millions of people in the UK live in severely food insecure homes. Suffering from hunger affects both physical and mental health as well as educational and employment performance. It is a dangerous spiral that many in our country are now struggling to escape – a spiral created and perpetuated by Tory policies.
According to recent data from the Trussell Trust, which runs around half of the food banks in the country, only 0.03% of people are using these food banks for the primary reason of being unemployed, thanks to the Government’s inaction over low pay and exploitative working practices we are now seeing record numbers of in work poverty. These levels of hunger should alarm any Government yet they have continued a programme of punitive welfare reform and have shown a total lack of ability to address the rising cost of living or our gnawing productivity and skills gaps to create job opportunities for now and the future.
This persistent dereliction of duty from the Government has seen charities and faith groups fill the gap left by the state, but this is not a long term sustainable solution. That is why as a Member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and also a Trustee of Feeding Britain, I have been and will continue to champion the reduction of food waste and support a range of practical measures to address hunger and food inequality, both in Parliament and here in Shields with local charities the Key Project and Churches Together. Much of which can be found by clicking on the links below.
As well as supporting Frank Field’s current Bill which places a legal duty on local authorities to ensure the provision of free meals and activities for children during school holidays , I am also introducing a Bill in November to ask the Government to measure the levels of household food insecurity in the UK. As long as they refuse to collect the data, the Government can continue to avoid strategically addressing the fundamental causes of this serious issue. Not just on World Food Day but every day. It is important that we remember all of those who are hungry at home and abroad and do all we can to eradicate hunger. #WFD2017
You can see some of the things I have said so far here: