The country’s biggest trade union, Unite, has appealed to parliament to debate hunger as the UK’s food banks prepare to feed 60,000 people over the Christmas period.
The union has slammed the government for “turbo charging inequality in Britain". Unite believes that the government has lost sight of what is important, focusing wholly on the interests of bankers instead of the people that have been forced to use the services of local food banks. There has been a threefold increase in the use of food banks in the last year alone.
Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “It is a disgrace that in the world’s seventh richest country, food banks will have to feed 60,000 people this Christmas and fed over 345,000 people, between April and September this year.
“Cabinet ministers have been turning their back on our cost of living crisis. While hundreds of thousands of families go without food, they have been cozying up to bankers, who are set for another year of bumper bonuses.”
Unite’s campaign for a parliamentary debate is being backed by a petition proposed by Jack Monroe, who has used food banks. It is also being heavily supported by The Mirror and the Trussell Trust.
The trade union estimates that one in five mothers don’t have enough money to feed their families and will skip meals in order to feed their children.
Geoff Grose, manager of a Trussell Trust branch, said: “The main reason for our support is about putting food on the table. It is a great service, not for providing luxuries but providing basics for those in need at Christmas.
“This is not just about money. It is about people coming together and giving their time. As a consequence bringing this to people’s attention, more will hopefully volunteer at food banks directly.”
Last year the Trussell Trust food banks fed approximately 350,000 across the UK, a figure that includes 130,000 children. Those who used the service were generally referred to the food bank by health professionals.