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Christian charity urges government to appoint minister for food poverty

Wed 24 Jan 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A Christian charity has urged the government to appoint a minister for food poverty.

A report, backed by charity Church Action on Poverty, recommends five things to be done to tackle hunger.

It will be presented to parliament on Wednesday.

 

The charity's director, Niall Cooper, told Premier why the appointment is necessary.

He explained: "When we had the Olympics for instance there was a minister for the Olympics - totally different kind of issue but cuts across half a dozen different departments.

"What we really want is someone within government who's going to champion the issue and say 'actually it is the role of government to do what we can to end hunger'."

Cooper said there are gaps in our laws which mean food poverty doesn't fall under anyone's department.

The report states that since 2000 there has been a proliferation of charitable emergency food provision in the United Kingdom, which has expanded particularly fast since 2010.

A testimony in the report from Brian Wilson and Dawn Lumb who spoke at a drop-in centre in Leeds reads: "We come here on Mondays and Tuesdays,and sometimes on other days, and on Fridays we come for a meal and to see if there's a class on.

"We mostly come for the meals and to talk to people."

Cooper said this is becoming an all too familiar story.

The report was produced jointly with Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford at the University of Sheffield and asked the government to take the following five key steps:

  1. Appoint a minister or department charged with responsibility for coordinating a policy response across Government.
  2. Measure household food insecurity each year.
  3. Free people from the threat of food insecurity.
  4. Listen to people with first-hand experience of hunger and use their experiences, as well as informed research, as the basis for policy.
  5. Lead the way in ending hunger and household food insecurity.

Listen to Niall Cooper, director of Church Action on Poverty speaking to Premier's Cara Bentley:

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