Sunderland MP challenges Prime Minister in Parliament over food poverty

MP Sharon Hodgson questioned the Prime Minister over the issue of food insecurity.
MP Sharon Hodgson questioned the Prime Minister over the issue of food insecurity.

A Sunderland MP has challenged the Prime Minister today over food poverty.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, raised food insecurity with Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Question Time and asked her to meet with young food ambassadors who have experienced it themselves.

Mrs Hodgson, who co-chaired the Children’s Future Food Inquiry, used the opportunity to raise figures published today by the End Poverty Coalition showing that 500,000 more children are having their lives blighted by poverty today than at the start of the decade.

The Children’s Future Food Inquiry was the first inquiry about food insecurity, which means not having reliable access to nutritious food, amongst young people that included children and young people in the discussions and recommendations.

The young food ambassadors published a #Right2Food Charter which outlines what they believe should be done to tackle food poverty and insecurity.

The Inquiry’s Committee, made up of cross-party politicians and charities, recommended that the Government set up an Independent Children’s Food Watchdog to cost some of the policies that could help tackle food insecurity and hunger.

Mrs Hodgson asked Mrs May: "Three weeks ago, the Prime Minister received a copy of the Children’s Future Food Inquiry report, delivered to No 10 by Dame Emma Thompson and six young food ambassadors who have all experienced food poverty.

"On her Government’s watch, the End Child Poverty Coalition have found that half a million more children are having their lives blighted by poverty today than at the start of this decade.

"Will the Prime Minister meet with these young food ambassadors to discuss their #Right2Food Children’s Charter as soon as possible?"

In her response, the Prime Minister said: "I haven’t actually seen the charter yet, so I will look very carefully at that charter.

"But, as I have said in response to a number of questions on this issue, what is important is that we have in this country an economy that enables people to get into good jobs.

"That is what we are delivering as a Conservative Party in Government. That is what enables people to have that stability in their income. That is what enables people to be able to care for their children."

Following the Prime Minister's Question Time, Mrs Hodgson, said: "I am disappointed that the Prime Minister would not commit to meeting with the young food ambassadors, who have been so brave in sharing their experiences of food insecurity with politicians.

"At a time when we see poverty increasing, the Government must take food insecurity seriously or we risk losing an entire generation of young people to hunger. But, it is clear that the Government is not able to grasp the nuances of poverty and food insecurity.

"I will continue to bring this issue to the Government’s attention until they take meaningful action to tackle this problem."