The Inquiry found in its evidence that hunger is affecting people in all corners of the country – in urban, rural, wealthy and deprived areas. The Inquiry heard that low-income households, particularly in rural parts of the county, are struggling with the higher costs of heating their homes, the costs of transport to and from work, as well as the often seasonal, part-time and low-paid nature of local employment.
It showed that since 2004, Britain has experienced an explosion in the numbers of emergency food assistance providers. Almost every food bank and emergency food assistance provider submitting evidence to this Inquiry began operating only within the last decade. The numbers during this current coalition government are particularly damning with an increase from 128,697 to 913,138 between 2012 and 2014 in the numbers of people needing emergency food assistance.
Dr Walker said:
“Now that we are approaching a general election, people can decide for themselves whether they think it is acceptable that more and more people in Britain are going hungry. Income poverty and hunger, and the related ill-health that these cause, are avoidable and preventable problems in Britain in 2014. Now is the time to act to put an end to the unfair and unnecessary austerity that has reduced people’s wages, increased income inequality, savaged our health services and made people hungry.”