'Britain Isn't Eating', says Church Action on Poverty campaign

By staff writers
23 Dec 2013

Church Action on Poverty's hard-hitting Christmas campaign is exposing the scandal of hunger in 21st-century Britain.

Posters and online ads reading 'Britain Isn't Eating', highlighting the many thousands of people in the UK who are having to rely on foodbanks because of welfare changes and government cuts, are causing a media stir.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, chief architect of changes that are hitting the most vulnerable, is reported to be "furious" at the campaign, which mimics Conservative attacks on the Labour Party ("Britain's not working") in 1979.

Mr Duncan Smith has refused to meet with the Christian charity, the Trussell Trust, which supports a majority of Britain's growing number of foodbanks. He has attacked the charity as "politically motivated", something it strongly denies.

Ecumenical charity Church Action on Poverty, which has researched the issues in depth, explains its 'Britain Isn't Eating' campaign on its website: "Since May 2013, we have been calling attention to the appalling explosion of food poverty in the UK - and the fact that thousands of people are going hungry because of benefit changes.

"We urgently need an inquiry to find out why our benefit system is making people destitute, and how we can stop it happening.

"In the coming months, we will use a powerful piece of 'subvertising' to make that message heard more clearly. Our 'Britain Isn't Eating' poster parodies the Conservative party's world-famous 1979 election poster. Look out for it in the media and at key events in the coming months, as we continue to press for action."

Last week, government-supporting MPs voted against an inquiry into foodbank use, with some laughing and mocking at stories of hardship - a heartless response which brought condemnation from the President of the Methodist conference, the Rev Ruth Gee, and other church figures.

The official report into the growth of food banks, which was delivered to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in June 2013 has still not been published. There is a campaign by 38 Degrees and others to secure its prompt release.

The UK government, alarmed by growing criticism by charities, churches and other NGOs, is also currently seeking to introduce legislation to restrict or criminalise their campaigning activities a year before an election campaign - leaving the field clear for the main parties and their big money backers.

The Lobbying Bill, which fails to tackle in-house corporate lawyers but seeks to gag community groups and trade unions, is being opposed by coalitions of many hundreds of charities and non-government organisations.

* Find out more about the issues with CAP's 'Walking the Breadline' report: http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/news/foodfuelfinance/walkingthebreadline

* 'Britain Isn't Eating' campaign: http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/news/britainisnteating

* Petition for publication of DWP and DEFRA report on food banks and hunger: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/publish-the-report-minister

* Truth and lies about poverty, benefits and welfare: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18086

* More on the Lobbying Bill: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/lobbyingbill

[Ekk/3]

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