02 April 2014
Astounding UK hunger figures
Evangelical Alliance call for political action as "astounding" figures on UK hunger set to be released
The Evangelical Alliance, which represents two million evangelical Christians across 79 denominations, is calling on David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to do what it takes to ensure their parties put the issue of hunger in the UK firmly on the political agenda.
It is also urging the cross parliamentary inquiry into foodbanks and food poverty in Britain led by the Bishop of Truro to include in its Terms of Reference an investigation on wage level stagnation, food price rises, and benefit changes and failures - as they relate to the rise of hunger.
"Hunger in the UK is a real issue which must be of concern to us all, including the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party," Steve Clifford, general director of the Alliance, said as he co-signed a letter from the End Hunger Fast campaign which is to be delivered to the main political parties on 16 April.
"We normally associate malnutrition with developing countries wracked by food shortages and poverty, but it's disturbing to learn that malnutrition is right here on our own doorsteps.
"Last year more than 5,500 people were admitted to UK hospitals suffering with malnutrition. No one should be allowed to go hungry in Britain. Many of our member churches are playing their part hosting and stocking food banks and we need the political parties to do play their part as well," he added.
Clifford said that the new statistics set to be released by The Trussell Trust, the UK's largest Christian food aid agency, later this month are "astonishing and disturbing" because of the "quantum leap in the number of people going hungry since last year".
Helen Lloyd, manager of the Arnold Foodbank, which is operated by the Daybrook Baptist Church in Nottingham, an Alliance member church, said that the number of people relying on the service has nearly tripled in the last 15 months.
"Recently we are seeing many more people coming to the food bank as a result of the change in the benefits system. Basically there is always a gap between them stopping benefits and starting something else and it is in this gap that they need help," she said
"We also provide emergency food boxes for a church in Nottingham and the number we give out has doubled," she added.
Clifford and other directors of the Alliance in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are participating in the 4 April fast to help draw attention to the serious hunger crisis facing the UK.
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Notes to Editors
- A letter from the End Hunger Fast campaign will be delivered to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband on 16 April.
- Other members of the campaign include The Trussell Trust, Quakers, JustFair and Church Action on Poverty.
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.