Food bank dependency is a scandal says South Shields MP following a hunger report

Emma Lewell-Buck, south Shields MP.
Emma Lewell-Buck, south Shields MP.

The number of starving people dependant on food banks is a scandal slams a South Shields MP.

Emma Lewell-Buck is urging the Prime Minister David Cameron to help 4.7 million people nationally people who are now dependant on food banks.

However, Mrs Lewell-Buck, who was on the core inquiry team for the landmark Feeding Britain 2015-16 report, says the Government’s silence on the matter is defeating.

After speaking on the issue at Parliament yesterday she told the Gazette: “Through our inquiries we’ve found the reasons why people visit food banks are due to benefit sanctions, benefit delays and poverty pay.

“The Prime Minister said last year that something needed to be done, but 12 months later nothing has been done, the silence on the matter is deafening.

“This is a huge scandal, that in a Western country like ours, we have not just children starving but there’s adults too.”

The Feeding Britain in 2015-16 report, produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, set out a blueprint for tackling the problem, including involving charities, the Government, councils and the major supermarkets working together to end the “scandal” of perfectly edible food being thrown away.

The document, backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, suggested that introducing a sugar tax on fizzy drinks could help fund a national programme to eliminate child hunger.

It also highlights delays in benefits payments pushing people over the edge into hunger and forcing them to seek help from food banks.

The report recommended that food banks should host trained specialists able to offer advice on benefits and budgeting, but urged the Department for Work and Pensions to “proceed with caution” it its moves to station officials in food banks.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “There’s three new food banks opening every week across the country. If the Government genuinely believes that there isn’t a problem then why do we have more and more food banks appearing?”