Hunger a national crisis in UK, religious leaders tell David Cameron
London: British government must take action to tackle a "national crisis" of rising hunger as more than a million Britons, including 330,200 children, have been helped by food banks last year, religious leaders appealed today.
In a signed letter, over 40 Anglican bishops and 600 church leaders, called on Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Premier Nick Clegg and Opposition leader Ed Miliband to tackle the causes of food poverty, including low wages, rising food prices and an inadequate welfare benefit safety net.
The letter said the period running up to Easter had been a time of "sorrowful and deep reflection" for people of all faiths on what it calls the terrible rise in hunger in Britain, and urged society to "begin rising to the challenge of this national crisis".
The letter coincides with the release of data by the Trussell Trust, the UK`s biggest food bank network, which showed 913,138 people ? including 330,205 children ? were the beneficiaries of its food parcels in 2013-14, up from 346,992 in 2012-13, registering a whopping 163 per cent increase.
The Trussell Trust said a third were given to repeat visitors but that there was a "shocking" 51 per cent rise in clients to established food banks. It said benefit payment delays were the main cause.
The Trust said its figures represented "just the tip of the iceberg" of food poverty and demonstrated that many British citizens on low incomes, especially those reliant on benefits, were finding it harder to make ends meet.
The UK government says there was no evidence of a link between welfare reforms and the use of food banks.
But the Trust said benefits payments had been a particular problem since welfare changes were introduced just over a year ago.
Some 83 per cent of food banks reported that benefits sanctions - when payments are temporarily stopped - had resulted in more people being referred for emergency food.
"In the last year, we`ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low incomes," said Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust.
"It`s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions," the Guardian quoted Mould as saying.
Reacting to the report, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said the Trussell figures were potentially misleading because it was unclear whether they had double- counted people who had made repeat visits to food banks.
"We`re spending 94 billion pounds a year on working age benefits so that the welfare system provides a safety net to millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so they can meet their basic needs," he sai
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- DNA: Sikh man in New Zealand removed his turban to help injured kid
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- DNA: AIIMS doctor removes both kidneys of minor, claims she had only one
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Mathura rally: PM Modi's ten power-packed dialogues
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- UBSE Results 2015 (ubse.uk.gov.in): Uttarakhand 12th Result 2015 to be announced today at 11 AM
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- CBSE Class X Board Results 2015 to declared tomorrow
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in