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Bishop to Lead Parliamentary Inquiry into Foodbanks and Food Poverty

The Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Tim Thornton, is to co-chair a major parliamentary inquiry into foodbanks and food poverty in Britain.

The inquiry, which will involve MPs and Peers from all parties, will focus on the underlying causes of food poverty and reasons for the growth in food banks.

Led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger and Food Poverty, it will take evidence in a number of locations around the country on the causes of hunger in Britain, the scope of provision to alleviate it and look at comparisons with other Western countries.

Following the announcement, the Bishop of Truro, who will co-chair the inquiry with Frank Field MP (Chair of the APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty), said:

"I welcome the opportunity to work with the APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty to undertake this important piece of work.

"I am deeply concerned at the growth in the need for foodbanks amongst those without work or on low incomes. Churches are already providing a great deal of assistance up and down the country, and I am especially pleased that the Inquiry will come to Truro to hear first-hand from communities in my diocese, as part of its series of evidence sessions across Britain.

As well as supporting those giving immediate assistance, there is also a clear need for politicians across all parties to agree on an effective response to address the root causes. The stronger our understanding of the reasons for hunger in Britain, the more effective that response can be."

Frank Field MP said: "The Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and I are bringing forward this inquiry because at long last the debate on hunger in this country has taken off."

The announcement of the inquiry follows recent calls from church leaders, including the Bishop of Truro, for action to be taken to tackle growing concerns around hunger in Britain. Signatories to the open letter urged support for the End Hunger Fast campaign, which is highlighting the plight of those experiencing hunger, and calling for a national day of fasting on April 4th.

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Notes

  1. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty announced in February 2014 that it will conduct a parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty in Britain.  The inquiry will be chaired by the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Tim Thornton, and Frank Field MP (Lab), the Chair of the APPG. The Group's officers, Laura Sandys MP (Con) and Sarah Newton MP (Con), will form the core of the inquiry team and will be joined by Emma Lewell-Buck MP (Lab), John Glen MP (Con) and other members of the APPG.
  2. The APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty was established in October 2013 by Frank Field MP and Laura Sandys MP, in order to investigate the root causes behind hunger, food poverty and the huge increase in demand for food banks across Britain. More information can be found on the website of its Chair, Frank Field: http://www.frankfield.com/campaigns/appg-hunger-food-poverty.aspx

  3. The preliminary terms of reference for the APPG inquiry are as follows:

    i. To understand the circumstances behind, and the rise in, the number of food banks in this country;

    ii. To look at the geographical spread of food banks and understand more fully who runs them.

    iii. To examine access to affordable food and the sustainability of our food model.

    iv. To consider alternative sources of food aid provision and the desirability of these bodies becoming permanent features of the welfare state.

    v. To ask how adequately food aid providers are meeting immediate and long-term needs. 

    vi. To investigate the source of food aid providers' supplies - how much is supplied by consumers and institutions?

    vii. To discover the food choices available to clients when using food aid providers.

    viii. To make recommendations.

4. More information about the End Hunger Fast campaign, including the text of the bishops' letter,  can be found on its website, at: http://endhungerfast.co.uk/

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