Campaigners from Liverpool are calling on the Government and all parties to act now to end UK hunger.
Members of Feeding Liverpool, Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Friends of Everton Park, West Everton Community Council, Together Liverpool, local churches, residents and councillors gathered to add their voices to demands around the country for action.
They met in Everton Park to unveil a message calling for immediate steps to be taken to tackle food poverty and insecurity.
This call is particularly poignant in Liverpool – given that the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation statistics placed three of our neighbourhoods in the top 20 most deprived neighbourhoods in England.
The UK pledged in 2015 to end hunger by 2030, but no plan for how that will happen has been developed. If the target is to be achieved, a Government-led strategy across all departments is essential. The End Hunger UK campaign says politicians must listen to the experiences and insights of people who have been caught in a rising tide of poverty and debt, and says the national target must be to halve household food insecurity by 2025, as a step to ending it by 2030.
Dr Naomi Maynard, from Feeding Liverpool and Together Liverpool said: “It cannot be right that so many people in our city are going hungry, having been swept into poverty by systems beyond their control. There are lots of amazing projects across Liverpool helping to meet the need day to day, and our foodbanks are doing a terrific job at feeding the growing number of people in need, but we need to move beyond sticking-plaster solutions and confront the root causes of food poverty. The time to act is now! We need the Government to lead on this, and all our political parties to work together to tackle the systems that are pushing people into deeper difficulty, so people can escape the clutches of poverty.”
Cllr Jane Corbett, Assistant Mayor for Fairness and Tackling Poverty in Liverpool who joined the campaigners said "I'd like to say a massive thank you to all the many community, voluntary and faith groups who are working incredibly hard responding to the increasing levels of hunger and poverty across our city. And as a Council we will continue to fund our anti poverty work for as long as we possibly can. But we are now running out of money fast and the future is uncertain. The Government has to act now, not wait until 2030. Immediate action is needed now and with the political will hunger can be ended in months not years. As politicians we are all elected to serve society, not knowingly cause hunger and poverty. Together we are doing all we can in Liverpool. It's time for Government to do the same."
The national End Hunger UK campaign includes around 40 national charities, anti-poverty organisations and faith groups. It has proposed a range of policies that can reduce poverty and contribute to ending hunger in the UK. In the past two years, nearly 20,000 people and 150 organisations have taken part in campaigns around child food insecurity during school holidays, Universal Credit, and discovering the true level of hidden hunger in the UK. Following these campaigns, the Government provided nearly £9 million this year for school holiday and activity pilot programmes, has introduced annual measurement of household food insecurity, and as part of the 2018 budget agreed to spend an extra £1.7bn to address some of the most glaring problems associated with the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Niall Cooper, Chair of End Hunger UK, said: “We all want to live in a country where everyone has access to good food and no one needs to go to bed hungry, but we need action to make that a reality. All parties need to commit to drawing up a clear roadmap to end food poverty, and the Government must act now to end hunger.
“The UK has no shortage of food. The problem is one of incomes – too many working and non-working households are being hamstrung by insufficient wages and a benefits system that does not cover people’s essential costs. Charitable emergency food provision has proliferated in the UK in the past decade and large numbers of people have been forced to turn to food aid providers. In the sixth wealthiest nation on the planet, this is simply not right.”