Last week shoppers at Tesco’s in Kidderminster might have spotted signs inviting them to contribute to the collection of food the supermarket was organising. This was part of the largest charity food drive in Britain since the Second World War. Whilst giving food to hungry and penniless families over the Christmas period is laudable and fits into a rich tradition of generosity in Wyre Forest the question needs to be asked why such a food drive is needed at all.
This is a wealthy country- still the sixth richest country in the world. However, I believe that something is very wrong when a country like Britain is setting up food banks and groups like the Red Cross and Fare Share are having to address the real problem of families being unable to feed themselves adequately. Back in August the Trussell Trust found that one in ten Wyre Forest residents had suffered from some form of food poverty in the previous year.
The fact is that faced with stagnating wages, the bedroom tax and rising living costs the people of Wyre Forest are being forced to choose between eating and heating. Tescos found that one in four people in the UK have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their family, or relied on family and friends to provide them with food over the past 12 months.
These are figures that we would associate with a third world country rather than a wealthy and developed state. The fault lies squarely with the policies of this Conservative government and, as usual, the burden falls most heavily on those who can afford it least.
Dr Matt Lamb Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest