Emma Lewell-Buck has launched a bid to set up a new partnership to tackle food poverty in South Tyneside, a problem she has branded a national disgrace.
The South Shields MP today called for a working party – made up of organisations such as the Salvation Army and local food banks and community groups – to be set up as she revealed the findings of a report into hunger and food poverty.
With her at the launch of the all-party report at South Shields Town Hall was the Bishop of Jarrow, the Rt Rev Mark Bryant.
The report, called Feeding Britain, includes a raft of recommendations to tackle the problem, including funding for school breakfast clubs and free delivery of surplus groceries to food banks by supermarkets, as well as shorter waiting times while the Department for Works and Pensions reconsiders benefit claims.
Mrs Lewell-Buck, addressing representatives of church and community groups, housing providers and food banks at the town hall, said: “The plan is to set up a working group for South Tyneside.”
She added: “It is an absolute national disgrace that food banks have become part of the fabric of our society, but thank God that they are.
“If it were not for food banks and other groups plugging the gaps left by the welfare state, we would have had people starving.”