Open letter

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 – 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.

[Please add your signature here.]

Signatories:

  • Ian Lucas MP, Wrexham
  • Emma Dent Coad MP, Kensington
  • Liam Byrne MP, Birmingham, Hodge Hill
  • Ruth Smeeth MP, Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove
  • Emma Lewell-Buck MP, South Shields
  • David Drew MP, Stroud
  • Dan Jarvis MP, Barnsley Central
  • Alex Sobel MP, Leeds Northwest
  • Lucy Powell MP, Manchester Central
  • Ben Bradshaw MP, Exeter
  • Ruth Jones MP, Newport West
  • Virendra Sharma MP, Ealing, Southall
  • Jon Cruddas MP, Dagenham & Rainham
  • Vernon Coaker MP, Gedling
  • Kate Green MP, Stratford & Urmston
  • James Frith MP, Bury North
  • Teresa Pearce MP, Erith & Thamesmead
  • Mark Tami MP, Alyn & Deeside
  • Janet Daby MP, Lewisham East
  • Ronnie Campbell MP, Blyth Valley
  • Derek Twigg MP, Halton
  • Stephen Morgan MP, Portsmouth South
  • Sir Mark Hendrick MP, Preston
  • Roger Godsiff MP, Birmingham, Hall Green
  • Ann Clwyd MP, Cynon Valley
  • Sir George Howarth MP, Knowsley
  • Paul Farrelly MP, Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Dr David Webster, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow
  • Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor, University of Oxford
  • Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Health Policy, City, University of London
  • Dr Dave Beck, Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Salford
  • Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite, Birmingham Fellow, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Clare Pettinger, Lecturer Public Health Dietetics, University of Plymouth
  • Pat Thane, Research Professor in Contemporary British History, King’s College London
  • Ken Loach, Bath
  • Shaista Aziz, Councillor, Oxford East
  • Amna Abdullatif, Councillor, Central Manchester
  • Sara Hyde, Councillor, Islington South & Finsbury
  • Mike Rowley, Councillor, Oxford East
  • Martyn Rush, Councillor, Oxford East
  • Liz Hardman, Councillor, Deputy Leader Bath & North East Somerset Labour Group
  • Allison Gardner, Councillor, CLP Chair, Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Adele Barnett-Ward, Councillor, Reading East
  • Jane Middleton, Bath
  • Joe Rayment, Bath
  • Lily Middleton-Mansell, Bath
  • Mike Midgley, Bath
  • Dr David Halpin, Shelby & Ainsty
  • Alison O’Brien, Clacton-on-Sea
  • Rachael Loftus, City & Hunslet
  • Sarah Webster, Poplar & Limehouse
  • Belinda Scarlett, Fylde
  • Joan Nimarkoh
  • Joan Vickers, Gainsborough
  • Denise Conlin, Bournemouth West
  • Richard Willis, Communications and Social Media Officer, Scunthorpe
  • Graeme Kemp, The Wrekin
  • Ben Pearson, Ribble Valley
  • Rosie Sourbut, South East Regional Coordinator Labour Students, Co-Chair Ex-Officio Oxford University Labour Club
  • Tracy Orr, Rugby
  • Jess Carrington, Norwich South
  • Mike Coulson, Selby & Ainstey
  • Steve Lawler, Southport
  • Cheryl Goodwin-Barnes, Cornwall
  • James Metcalfe, MP staffer, Redcar
  • George Aylett, Hull North
  • Vicky Drew, Branch Chair, Women’s Officer, North East Somerset
  • Michelle Young, Stroud
  • Susan Singleton, West Derby
  • Samuel Marlow-Stevens, Bath
  • Diana Page, Political Auditor, Bath
  • Christine Stockwell, Vice-chair Campaigns, Stroud
  • Angela Raczka, Bath
  • Marilyn Freeman, Bedford & Kempston
  • Barry Freeman, Bedford & Kempston
  • Jamie Green, Secretary, Prince’s BLP, Vauxhall
  • Chris Roche, CLP delegate, Exeter
  • Ava Etemadzadeh, Hampstead & Kilburn
  • Sharon Gillings, Bath
  • Jon Clay, Branch Social Media Officer, Vauxhall
  • Andrew Barnes, Branch Chair, North East Somerset
  • Philippa Illsley, North East Somerset
  • Mary Burgess, Tunbridge Wells
  • Joe Gillings, Campaign Coordinator, Bath
  • Maddy Power, Women’s Officer, York
  • Helen Porter, Tooting
  • Kellie Foster, branch delegate, Barnsley Central
  • Kay Jenkinson, Haslingden & Hyndburn
  • Michelle Conway, Bolton North East
  • Luke Mansell, Bath
  • June Mitchell, Washington & Sunderland West
  • Deeba Syed, Society of Labour Lawyers, Bethnal Green & Bow
  • Catherine Fookes, Monmouth
  • Kerry-Lynne Pyke, Branch Secretary, Campaign Coordinator, Bridgend
  • Kate Ellis, Aberavon
  • Kathryn Mackridge, Streatham
  • Helen Taylor, Branch Secretary, Carmarthen East & Dinefwr
  • Moira Cunningham, Women’s Officer, Scarborough & Whitby
  • Shelley Grainger, CLP Secretary, Guildford
  • Dev Sharma, Charnwood
  • Jacqueline Bartram, Isle of Wight
  • Debbie Power, Hall Green
  • David Gillian, Shipley
  • John Brown, Birmingham Ladywood
  • Joan Rudderham, Coventry North West
  • Erin Coughlin, Luton
  • Hasaan Amin, BAME Officer (KCL Labour), Manchester Withington
  • Michael Proctor, Bath
  • Ian Jones, Neath