With less than two weeks until election day, the increasing prevalence of poverty in the UK is something everyone should reflect on and consider. This election is so important because, in many ways, the fundamental question facing voters is what kind of society we want to be.
The anger created by the rise of food banks can force those in power to tackle this issue. And the ensuing hope can finally put an end to the march of the 'blame the poor' brigade.
It's becoming increasingly hard not to have an opinion on foodbanks. But when you're forming yours, make sure you're not falling for any of these common myths about food bank use...
It is so important that these smaller charities receive exposure too as they vitally need funding as well. With this in mind, today I want to highlight a charity called "National Ugly Mugs" which aims at protecting sex workers from violent offenders.
The rise of food banks in 21st Century Britain is nothing short of a disgrace. Today's figures from the Trussell Trust confirm that in David Cameron's Britain more than a million people have to rely on food banks each year. This is the Tory plan that David Cameron says is working.
On Easter Monday, the Sun ran a full page non-story attacking the Trussell Trust for tenuous and supposed hypocrisy. Was there any mention of the fact that thousands of parents are going hungry to feed their children in the UK this Easter holiday? No. For me, this is the real story - or at least it should be. So why are certain sections of the media so determined to undermine anyone who speaks out about the reality of hunger and poverty in the UK? Last Easter, the Mail on Sunday ran an undercover investigation at foodbanks, trying to attack them, and those who need them. It notoriously backfired. This year it was the Sun.
As Labour MEP for one of the worst affected regions in the UK, I have made tackling youth unemployment a top priority and will do everything I can to ensure these issues are heard in the European Parliament.
It seems to me, and others who gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, that a system in which claimants are 'presumed guilty' unless they prove otherwise goes against 'natural, or administrative, justice'. This is a reflection of the destructive narrative that has built up around benefit claimants.
At this election, we are called to transform our faith into action for positive change. Now is our opportunity to challenge the candidates to answer our questions on how they intend to respond to the pressing social issues affecting our families and the most vulnerable of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters in need.
Nothing quite characterises the levels of poverty in austerity Britain better than the dramatic growth in the use of food banks in recent years. With record numbers visiting local food banks in many areas over Christmas - and January looking set to be their busiest month yet - it is clear that they remain a much needed resource for many working people as the Coalition government's cuts, poverty pay and harsh benefit sanctions take their toll on household incomes. How the government can stand by and refuse to act while so many people are struggling to make ends meet is beyond me. We need to work to boost wages, raise living standards and put an end to in-work poverty, food poverty and the cost of living crisis once and for all. We want a recovery that everyone can benefit from - not just the richest...
As long as the public continues to accept the assurances of the rich that we have to suffer so that they don't have to, the bitterness created will continue to create divisions between ethnic and religious communities that should be working together to destroy zero hour contracts and ensure proper funding for the NHS.
It began with a BBC Panorama programme in early 2014. It has ended with an All Party Parliamentary report just before Christmas. From start to finish, 2014 became the year in which it has become clear that food banks are far more than a response to a crisis occasioned by the recent recession. Even as the economy grows and employment with it, the number of those presenting with genuine food poverty in Britain continues itself to grow, and rapidly. What's going on?
The badly off, and the rest of us for that matter, are being stalked by a political class and charitable sector more interested in changing people's behaviour than solving society's problems.
Up to 4.3 million tonnes of surplus food is produced each year, but only 2% of that goes to charities to feed the hungry. Around 3.7 million tonnes of this is destroyed or burned. While the political pressure simmers, an army of young activists are striving to tackle these issues from the front line. Chief amongst them is Grace Jones, a 15-year-old campaigner from Croydon.
The UK is the world's sixth largest economy, yet 1 in 5 of the UK's population live below our official poverty line, which includes 3 million children...
The Free Market isn't free. Its cost is measured in human despair and truncated lives. That we have a situation in one of the richest economies in the world where people, including children, do not have enough to eat, is nothing short of a crime.