Debate UK hunger and rise in foodbank use

Debate UK hunger and rise in foodbank use

    1. Petition by

      Jack Monroe

      Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom

December 2013


We did it! We secured a debate on UK hunger and foodbank use in Parliament on 18th December.

Many MPs requested to speak at the debate and took turns to tell the stories of their constituents. We heard about the ex-serviceman who turned to a foodbank while waiting for four weeks for Atos to deal with his appeal. The story of two hungry young boys who came to ask for one packet of cereal and one packet of drinking chocolate as a treat. And we heard of the man whose benefits were sanctioned when he couldn't attend an assessment interview because he was in hospital with his wife who was seriously ill with cancer.

We should be proud of what we achieved through this petition. MPs were reminded of the people that they are there to represent. And while some of them might try to drown out the stories with jeers and laughter -- these stories are now out in the open for all to see. They are on the official Hansard record and can't be ignored any longer. Thank you for signing!

On Christmas Day 2011, I sat on my sofa by myself in a freezing cold flat, with no television, no presents, no food in the fridge that had been turned off at the mains. I had no tree, no decorations, nothing to mark the day as any different from any other.

I was unemployed, broke, and broken. I hadn't bought a single present for my one-year-old son, and instead let him go to his father’s for the day, knowing I could not give him a Christmas myself.

This year, I’m lucky that things are different for me. But I am outraged that for 60,000 other people are facing the same situation. How can it be that in 2013, 20,000 children face Christmas with empty cupboards and no presents? And why is that figure three times the number that faced a hungry Christmas last year?

I don’t think this is acceptable in the seventh richest country in the world – and I’d really like to know the reasons why it’s happening so we can stop it.

That’s why I’m launching this petition calling for parliament to debate the causes of UK hunger – and to ask why, in modern Britain, foodbank use is escalating so rapidly.

This December, I’m backing the Daily Mirror and Unite the Union’s ‘Give Our Kids A Christmas’ Appeal for the Trussell Trust to raise money for Foodbanks. But we want to do more than just raise money to help – we also want get to the root of UK hunger.

I know what it’s like to turn the fridge off because it's empty anyway. To unscrew the lightbulbs to alleviate the temptation of turning them on. I spent countless mornings sitting across the breakfast table from my son, envious of his small portion of cereal mashed with a little bit of water, or his slice of toast with jam. "Where's Mummy's breakfast?" he used to ask. Mummy wasn't hungry. Mummy hadn’t been hungry the previous night either, and I used to wonder how long it would take him to notice that Mummy wasn’t very hungry at all any more.

I was referred to my local foodbank for help by a Sure Start children's centre, after staff noticed that my son and I always had seconds and thirds of the free lunch they provided.

This Christmas, my son and I will have food on the table. But 60,000 others won’t. It’s not just the festive season – 350,000 people received three-days emergency food from foodbanks between April and September this year. Yet supposedly the economy is recovering, and banker’s bonuses are back?

Please join me by signing this petition calling for a Parliamentary Debate. Make politicians confront what is happening. We need to stop turning a blind eye.

In the words of Desmond Tutu: "There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in."

Debate UK hunger and rise in foodbank use

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Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • patricia jones PLYMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      children should not have to starve in this day age

      • 7 months ago

      I heard recently that 1 in 4 children wouldn't have anything to eat when they went home for the weekend - in the USA !! - and I saw a programme recently referring to the 'working poor' having to use foodbanks, and where a single father didn't eat so his kids could have enough to eat !! Just a few examples of a tremendous problem. What on earth is the world coming to? It's heartbreaking and I'm disgusted that the 'powers that be', YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, are willing to let this continue. If it was happening to their kids, I wonder if things would change? You know the answer to that one, and you also know how quickly it would happen. There seems to be an 'I'm all right Jack' state of mind prevalent in a lot of people these days and it just won't do. To those who have the power to act, please, please, do something NOW, even if it's not from altruism but just so you look good! The hungry don't care what your motivation is, as long as you ARE motivated. In the words of that huge sporting brand with the big tick - DO IT NOW!!!!!

    • Peter Romanowski BEDFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 7 months ago

      Since the 70s the manufacturing industrie in Britain has been transferred from Britain to Asia. This had been done by our Governments and businessmen/women. How can politicians expect people to magic themselves into full time employment, when so many once skilled, semi skilled, workers have lost their jobs, and subsequently their dignity, and their ability to have a decent standard of living, and a healthy lifestyle too? The millions in these circumstances have now had their benefits cut, and have no voice, because the Govt run media has blacked out all reporting, on the mass demonstrations across the UK, concerning the bedroom tax and austerity. Companies give out zero hour contracts, so if you have some time off, or sick, you get no pay. Yet Trillions are being spent on wars, and veterans suffering from depression, anxiety, ptsd, alcohol and drug abuse, have also been abandoned. The people of Britain have been broken, and it's our own leaders that have done this to us.

    • Angela Dilley DORSET, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 months ago

      Change your ways of thinking about poor people.

      • 10 months ago

      In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.(Aristotle)


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