30/05/2013

Half A Million Turning To Food Aid

Half a million people in the UK are suffering from severe hunger and are turning to food aid as a result of government welfare reforms, according to Oxfam.

The charity has called for a Parliamentary inquiry following a report published by Church Action Poverty and Oxfam.

'Walking the Breadline' details an increase in the use of food banks in the UK as a result of changes to the benefit system, unemployment, increasing levels of underemployment, low and falling income and rising food and fuel prices.

Changes to the benefit system are the most common reasons for people using food banks, the report says.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam's CEO said: "The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are turning to food aid. Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable that this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet."

The Trussell Trust, which is the biggest provider of food banks in the UK, reported last month that over 350,000 people turned to food banks for help in the last year. This was almost triple the number from the previous year.

The new report warns that the true number of hungry people could be more than half a million people, as it claims the problem is not being sufficiently monitored.

Niall Cooper, Church Action on Poverty CEO, and the report's lead author, said: "The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the 'normal' safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support."

The report recommends an urgent Parliamentary inquiry into the situation, as well as regular information regarding the number and type of households deprived of benefits by reason of benefit delay, error or sanctions.

(IT/CD)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 March 2008
School's Out For Junk Food
The School Food Trust is to set in motion measures that will curb school children binging on junk food. Currently in some parts of England, pupils have a choice of more than 40 fast food shops, with many targeting children with special lunch menus.
18 April 2008
Calls For Tougher Junk Food Advertising Laws
More than eighty percent of adults believe junk food advertising can make it difficult to feed children healthy food, a new survey has claimed. Consumer watchdog Which? Found 83% of consumers surveyed wanted the government to become more involved in controlling the marketing of unhealthy food to children. In total 2,000 people were questioned.
25 October 2004
Tourists warned of risks of bringing food into the UK
The risks and controls prohibiting people bringing food into the UK from EU countries have been highlighted today as part of a public awareness campaign launched today. The current rules mean that it is illegal to bring meat and milk-based products for personal use back into the UK from outside the EU.
29 October 2003
New proposals set to curb fast-food littering
Fast-food outlets and customers will be encouraged to clean up their act under voluntary proposals published today by the government.
15 July 2005
Report on food transport reveals effect on environment
The transport of food across the UK has a “significant and growing impact” on road congestion, accidents, climate change, noise and pollution, a new report has claimed.