Call for an ‘end UK hunger’ budget

Over 500,000 people in Britain have been forced to use food banks since Easter 2013, it is one of the most powerful signs of the terrible impact the government’s austerity agenda.

Today a new petition has been launched, putting pressure on George Osborne ahead of the Budget in March. It calls on the chancellor to introduce a ‘hunger test’ to make sure this and future budgets don’t drive families further into poverty. The specific asks of the petition are:

1.    Introduce a Living Wage.
2.    Repair the welfare safety net and end punitive sanctions.
3.    Tackle rising food and energy costs.
4.    Recognise exponential rise in food banks and UK hunger.

The petition, which is being fronted by Jack Monroe, can be found by clicking here and you can find out more about the campaign by clicking here.

This latest push comes off the back of the Unite, Mirror and Trussell Trust Christmas campaign, which had a huge impact at the end of 2013.

Together Unite members helped to raise over £106,000 for the food bank network and forced the issue right to the top of the political agenda. We secured 144,000 signatures, forcing a debate in parliament and putting the government under huge pressure – as well as giving a platform to the ordinary people being hit by food poverty.

This latest petition will be another chance for us to step up again and make a real difference. So please do sign and share here

Growth of food banks shows why there must be no welfare cap

Article by Natalie Bennet, Green Party leader

Food bank use in south east England, the region known for its wealth and relative prosperity, is up over 60% this year and thousands of families face the prospect of relying on emergency food handouts this Christmas. A decade ago, food banks were almost unheard of in this area but there are now 59 across the region.

We know this thanks to a report from Green MEP Keith Taylor, who’s released Hungry Christmas, a report into the spread of food banks in his region. The report is published ahead of a debate on food banks in Parliament on Thursday, which came after the public demonstrated its understanding of the issue, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition on the subject within four days, possibly a record for the official government site. A group of public health experts have concluded that the rate of food poverty in Britain should be classed as a medical emergency.

At this year’s Green Party conference we heard from the brilliant Jack Monroe, known for the blog A Girl Called Jack; her story is not unusual. She went from a well-paying job working for the Fire Brigade to being a mother living on benefits that didn’t cover the bills. She had tried and tried to balance work and childcare but was stymied at every turn. Jack’s story hasd a happy ending. Not everyone’s does. Few can expect that – what stretches ahead of them are years and, unless our economy is transformed, decades of endless, grinding struggle for the basics of life. Continue reading