On 4 July the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty brought its national inquiry to South Shields, to hear evidence from people experiencing food poverty as well as the charities volunteers and statutory services who work to support them.
Emma invited the cross-party group of MPs and Peers to Shields to see how food poverty is on the rise, the group were able to visit the KEY Project and New Hope who are doing great work in providing food aid for those who need it. The group also held a roundtable with dozens of local representatives to find out more about the causes of food poverty in Shields across the North East and what Parliament should do to tackle the problem.
The inquiry team included the Bishop of Truro, Conservative MP John Glen and the inquiry’s chair, the Labour MP Frank Field.
A number of participants explained how benefit delays and sanctions, low pay, and rising living costs had all contributed to the rise in food poverty. The KEY Project explained that in 2008 it had given out just 26 food parcels, but already this year had given out 222. Across Britain, over one million food parcels were handed out last year, with one in three going to children. The number has more than doubled each year under the Coalition
“I am grateful to everybody who came to Friday’s session. I am proud of the huge contribtion our community made to the inquiry’s work, and I know that the experiences we heard from food bank users and volunteers will play a big part in the Inquiry’s decisions on what recommendations it makes to the Government.”
“What was clear is that people in Shields – just like the other groups the Inquiry has spoken to – agree that the situation under this Government is getting worse, the triple pressures of low pay, rising prices and harsh benefit reforms are very clearly the root of the problem.”
You can find out more about the Inquiry’s work by clicking here.