Walking the Breadline: an Independent Inquiry into Food Poverty

by Church Action on Poverty
Rewards

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £1,500
Regional Hearing events £4,500
Hearings across the UK £9,000
£1,827.5
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Britain isn’t eating. We face an enormous explosion of food poverty. More and more people are being left hungry and destitute by benefit changes, rising prices and low pay. Continued cuts in benefits and public spending are making the situation worse every month. Churches and others are responding to the need by setting up food banks, but they are already struggling to keep up with the rising demand. More importantly, it is the role of government to provide a social safety net that protects the basic rights of all members of our society. Charities, campaigners and MPs of all parties have repeatedly called for an inquiry into the crisis. But the government denies the link between rising food poverty and changes to the benefits system, and has ignored the calls for an inquiry.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Research by Church Action on Poverty, Oxfam and the Trussell Trust showed that in 2012-13, 500,000 people were forced to turn to food banks and other forms of emergency food aid. Early indications suggest that further benefit changes since April have made the situation much worse; the numbers fed by food banks may well have tripled to one and a half million in 2013-14. The Trussell Trust (the UK’s largest network of food banks) launched almost 150 new food banks in 2012-13, and during 2013 they were approving three new food banks a week. These figures are indicative of a much larger problem, as they do not include the parallel growth in independent food banks and other informal emergency food aid interventions provided by hundreds of churches, charities, housing associations and community groups.
What is your solution?
We are working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food Poverty , Oxfam and the Trussell Trust to launch an Independent Inquiry into food poverty and hunger, with the endorsement of . It will explore seven key questions: Why do families become hungry? What immediate food support exists and for how long is it required? How does the issue of debt influence this demand? What budgetary and household skills can be improved to help tackle this problem? How difficult is it now to live on benefits? How can the government's Work Programme be improved to better support families in food poverty? Why does it appear that the statutory services are largely inactive in the face of hunger? The Inquiry will publish a report, with recommendations that demand a response from the government.
How will you deliver this?
The Independent Inquiry will be overseen by a panel including a Bishop, parliamentarians from all the major parties, academics and others . The Inquiry members will visit projects, hold verbal evidence session, call for written evidence, and draw on findings from an Oxfam/Child Poverty Action Group/Church of England research project, and from Public Hearings across the country where people experiencing food poverty and organisations working with them give testimony. They will gather their evidence during 2014, and launch their report in early 2015. This appeal aims to secure the funds to run up to six Public Hearings in different regions of the UK.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Share our ‘Britain Isn’t Eating’ image on Twitter or Facebook: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/act/socialmedia
  • 5 minutes
    Watch this Oxfam video about food banks: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/info/video
  • 15 minutes
    Put up a ‘Britain Isn’t Eating’ poster in a church, food bank or other public place: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/act/poster
  • 30 minutes
    Read our 2013 research into food poverty and food banks: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/info
  • A few hours
    Organise a local ‘Question Time’ event to gather evidence for the inquiry: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/act/questiontime Or meet your MP and call on them to support the inquiry: www.church-poverty.org.uk/walkingthebreadline/act/meetmp
  • Regular time commitment
    Pledge to Close the Gap between rich and poor by taking part in regular e-actions: action.church-poverty.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=128&ea.campaign.id=9134

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK. We work in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find solutions to poverty, locally, nationally and globally. We want to see significant changes in policy and practice, including: action to reduce tax avoidance and evasion; fairer employment (with public bodies and churches paying the Living Wage); better access to affordable credit; and a reduction in the ‘poverty premium’. We work to achieve this through lobbying, campaigning and social media. We aim to build a bigger movement with a unified multi-faith voice, comprised of national networks and local groups, which listens to people in poverty and amplifies their voice.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Our track record

We have been working to tackle UK poverty since 1982. Recent campaign successes include: persuading all the UK’s Christian denominations to pay the Living Wage; working with high-cost lenders and people in poverty to develop a Code for Responsible Lending; persuading the Financial Conduct Authority to regulate payday lenders more strictly; and working with Ofgem to make it easier for people on low incomes to access affordable energy. We have also pioneered the use of grassroots, participatory approaches to tackling UK poverty, including: popular education; participatory budgeting; Sustainable Livelihoods; and community organising.

Who do we help?

Our work aims to close the gap between rich and poor, helping anybody suffering from poverty and social exclusion. Our campaigns focus on the injustices caused by inequality. In our grassroots work, we focus on the most deprived and excluded communities.

How do we deliver this?

Our unique strength is that we combine two approaches: grassroots community work alongside people with real experience of the issues; and national campaigns which mobilise a network of churches and individuals to amplify the voices of people in poverty.