Frank Field MP
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National inquiry will investigate rising demand for food banks

A NEW national inquiry into the underlying causes of rising demand for food banks will begin its evidence gathering in Birkenhead.

The inquiry has been set up by the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and myself. Our aim is to dig below the food bank statistics to see whether longer term and more sinister trends are at work disadvantaging the poor, both here and across other Western countries.

We seek to produce a wide-ranging, thorough and balanced report with the help of a core team of MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty.

Our inquiry will include a summit on hunger and food poverty in April, organised by Sarah Newton MP and the Parliamentary Office on Science and Technology.

We will then gather evidence over the summer on the causes of hunger in Britain and the scope of provision to alleviate it.

One of the key questions our inquiry seeks to answer is whether voters want a minimum safety net in this country, and if so, at what level it should be set.

Beginning in Birkenhead, we will gather evidence from poorer people and those engaged in food banks and similar provision. Similar sessions will follow across Britain.

We have also begun a process of surveying local churches, in order to gain a better understanding of the kinds of informal food provision in place that stops people from going hungry.

At long last the debate on hunger and food poverty has taken off. We intend to position it centre stage prior to the next General Election.
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