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Petition parliament to debate hunger

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petition parliament for a debate on hunger in the UK‘You can tell how civilized a society is by how it treats it’s weakest members.’

Increasing public outrage about food poverty has been made clear as in just 24 hours over 70,000 people signed a petition calling for a parliamentary debate on UK hunger and food bank use.

In a sign of the mounting pressure on Chancellor George Osborne, ahead of this week’s economic statement, doctors have disclosed a disturbing rise in the number of malnutrition cases diagnosed at English hospitals, which are up from 3,161 in 2008/09 to 5,499 in 2012/13.

And Unite, the UK’s biggest trade union, has accused the government of staying ‘silent while its policies fill hospital beds and swell food bank demand’.

The union is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to outline in the autumn statement emergency measures that to tackle food poverty, including increasing the minimum wage by £1.50 and halting the callous cuts to the country’s social security system.

The huge success of the petition highlights growing public outrage at food poverty, which is set to worsen, as 60 per cent of social security cuts – hitting those in and out of work – are yet to be implemented.

The petition was proposed by Jack Monroe, writer and former food bank user, and has been supported by Unite, The Mirror and The Trussell Trust food bank network.

She wants to know how it can be that in 2013, 20,000 children face Christmas with empty food cupboards and no presents, and why that figure is three times the number that faced a hungry Christmas last year.

This is not acceptable in the seventh richest country in the world – and she, like so many of us, would really like to know the reasons why it is happening, so we can stop it.

And she is backing the Daily Mirror and Unite the Union’s ‘Give Our Kids A Christmas’ Appeal for the Trussell Trust to raise money for food banks.

This appeal won’t provide a lavish Christmas – lots of us are cutting back this year – but it will bring ordinary people together to try and ensure no child has to go without a decent meal at Christmas.

The appeal is asking people to donate cash which will help ensure food banks are able to provide meals for the record numbers of people needing their help.

And the organisers are also hoping to distribute toys to children who otherwise would have nothing on Christmas Day.

Giving has been made as easy as possible.

You can give securely on this dedicated web page, or text FBOX99 and the amount you want to donate (either £3, £5 or £10) to 70070; or you can give over the phone by calling: 01722 580 208 – lines are open 09:30 to 17:00; or you can send a cheque payable to ‘The Trussell Trust’ to:  Unite Christmas Appeal, The Trussell Trust, Unit 9 Ashfield Trading Estate, Ashfield Road, Salisbury SP2 7HL.

But we want to do more than just raise money to help – we also want get to the root of UK hunger.

Things are so bad that 1-in-5 UK mums regularly skip meals to feed their kids, due to a lack of money.

And this Christmas, as Jack points out, 60,000 people – including 20,000 children – will not have food on the table.

But worse than that, it’s not just the festive season: 350,000 people received three days worth of emergency food from food banks between April and September this year.

Please join her and sign this petition calling for a Parliamentary Debate on hunger in the UK.

Make politicians confront what is happening. We need to stop turning a blind eye.

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