Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary joined Lucy Powell in Manchester (September 14) to campaign for the Government to take urgent action to help families hit by higher food bills and struggling to make ends meet.
Mary Creagh MP and Lucy visited FareShare North West, a food redistribution charity in East Manchester, operated by EMERGE Recycling. They met EMERGE Chief Executive Lucy Danger and FareShare Development Manager Sebastien Serayet.
The cost of living crisis is affecting households across the country. The food redistribution charity FareShare estimates it feeds nearly 35,500 people per day nationally. Fareshare North West redistributed 200 tonnes of food in 2011, the equivalent of 400,000 meals. The organisation says demand has increased this year.
Last week the Manchester Evening News launched a campaign to tackle child poverty. It comes as a Council report has found more than 40,000 children are living below the poverty line in Manchester. In the Manchester Central constituency it's more than 50 per cent of youngsters.
On the same day in Westminster Mary Creagh MP helped launch the Million Meal Appeal which is organised by FareShare and is happening on October 6-7. It's aiming to be the biggest food drive ever in the UK.
Mary Creagh MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary, said:
"What we're seeing in Manchester and across the North West is that the poorest children are bearing the brunt of the double-dip recession made in Downing Street.
"Forty thousand children here in Manchester are living below the poverty line. Most of those parents have £50 a week to spend on food and it's very challenging to see how you can eat healthily if you're feeding a large family on that.
"That food bill is also in competition with the gas, electric, water, rent and council tax as people's incomes are going to reduce further through benefits changes next year.
"I think the Government could do a lot more to encourage food companies to recycle and re-use and pass on surplus food."
Lucy Powell, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Manchester Central, said:
"This Tory-led Government are out of touch with Manchester families feeling the squeeze from higher food bills and struggling to make ends meet.
“It is an utter disgrace that even though we are the seventh richest country in the world we face an epidemic of hidden hunger, particularly in children.
“David Cameron claimed ‘we’re all in this together’ yet his Government’s Budget has left families hundreds of pounds worse off, while cutting taxes for millionaires. Manchester families deserve better than this.”