THE LABOUR PARTY MUST ADOPT A CHARTER ON HUNGER
We are Labour Party members and supporters who are deeply concerned about the rise of food poverty in the UK since 2010. We applaud the work of organisations such as the Trussell Trust, the Food Foundation, End Hunger UK and many others on this issue, and in particular their research and advocacy work on the adverse impact of welfare reforms such as Universal Credit. However, we do not believe that the burden of fighting food poverty should fall on charities alone.

We cherish Labour’s commitment to tackling poverty in all its forms, and applaud the efforts of individual Labour MPs in campaigning against hunger. But we believe that the party can and should do more to stand in solidarity with those experiencing food poverty and the organisations working to put an end to it. Labour has rightly committed to repeal the aspects of welfare reform that have contributed so greatly to the rise in food poverty. But it needs to go much further. If, when it forms a government, it is to end the scourge of hunger, its next manifesto must include a specific, targeted strategy on food poverty.

We therefore urge the Labour Party to sign up to the Charter on Hunger (labourhunger.wordpress.com/charter-on-hunger/) – an ambitious strategy to eliminate hunger in the UK. Its pledges include:

• The implementation of an emergency plan to provide immediate hunger relief from the first day of a Labour government.

• The appointment of a Minister for Household Food Security to coordinate the policy response to food poverty across government departments. The Minister must ensure that government fulfils the Right to Food enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

• A legal definition of household food insecurity, with government targets to eliminate it.

• Universal free school meals for primary-school children and an increase in the free school meals allowance in secondary schools to a minimum of £4 per day.

• A statutory responsibility for the Department for Work and Pensions to prevent destitution, including a duty to seek out those at risk and provide appropriate support.

• A campaign to remove the stigma around claiming benefits – one that promotes a positive vision of the welfare state and the fact that we all benefit from state support, be it parental leave, healthcare, pensions or education.

We want a Britain where no one needs to go hungry. With a proper strategy in place, the Labour Party can make this happen.
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