Warning over food poverty

Reporter: Lobby Correspondent
Date published: 26 January 2012

THE gap between the haves and have nots is increasing with more people being forced to use foodbanks or go hungry, Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams has told Parliament

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP praised the Oldham Foodbank, which plans to launch in March and will see people given three days worth of non-perishable food as long as they have been referred by agencies, social services, GPs or charities — but told the Commons the fact it was needed proved the Government’s cuts and austerity measures were not working.

The Rev David Hawthorn, vicar of St Margaret’s and St Chad’s Church, Hollinwood, is setting up the foodbank in response to the number of people coming to him in crisis — victims of the tough economic climate.

Speaking in the Commons Mrs Abrahams said: “The vicar who set it up said that the banks are not just for homeless people but for hard-working families who are at crisis point. Reports by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and other organisations show that such problems exist up and down the country. The cuts and austerity are not working?”

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said there was “no silver bullet” to deal with the problem of rising food costs: “To stand here and pretend that the Government can step in and bring down global food prices at a stroke would be disingenuous,” he said.

Speaking after the debate Mrs Abrahams added: “It’s really great work that the Rev Hawthorn and his volunteers are doing and I’m proud to be able to mention their work in Parliament.”

To volunteer or for more information on the foodbank call the parish office on 0161-682 5106 or the vicarage on 0161-681 4541.

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