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Food Aid

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 21 November 2013

6. When the research commissioned by his Department into the provision of food aid in the UK will be published. (901173)

DEFRA has commissioned research to review publicly available evidence on the landscape of food aid provision and access in the UK. All Government-funded research projects are required to go through the necessary review and quality assurance processes prior to publication. Once this process is complete, the conclusions of the work will be made available on the Government’s website.

With more than 350,000 people using food banks since April alone and a more than 800% increase in the past three years, is the Minister delaying publishing the report because he is embarrassed to admit that the dramatic rise is due to the cost of living crisis caused by this Government?

No. As I just made clear—if the hon. Lady had listened—all Government reports must go through a review and quality assurance process, as set out in the Government’s social research service code introduced in 2008. There are many complex reasons for the increase in the number of food banks, but it is worth noting that there was a tenfold increase in their number under the last Government.

Is not the innuendo of the question from the hon. Member for Bolton West (Julie Hilling) and similar questions that the Labour party wants welfare spending increased? If it wants that, should it not spell out by how much it wants it to rise and who should benefit and in what ways?

I call the Minister to respond, but on food aid in the UK, rather than on Labour party policy.

My hon. Friend makes a good point. We all know that the best way to tackle poverty is to help people back into work.