Here is the letter by church leaders (not just Anglican) submitted to The Daily Mirror:
Britain is the world’s seventh largest economy and yet people are going hungry.
Half a million people have visited foodbanks in the UK since last Easter and 5,500 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition last year.
One in five mothers report regularly skipping meals to better feed their children, and even more families are just one unexpected bill away from waking up with empty cupboards.
We often hear talk of hard choices. Surely few can be harder than that faced by the tens of thousands of older people who must “heat or eat” each winter, harder than those faced by families whose wages have stayed flat while food prices have gone up 30% in just five years.
Yet beyond even this we must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.
On March 5th Lent will begin. The Christian tradition has long been at this time to fast, and by doing so draw closer to our neighbour and closer to God.
On March 5th we will begin a time of fasting while half a million regularly go hungry in Britain. We urge those of all faith and none, people of good conscience, to join with us.
There is an acute moral imperative to act. Hundreds of thousands of people are doing so already, as they set up and support foodbanks across the UK. But this is a national crisis, and one we must rise to.
We call on government to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.
Join us at www.endhungerfast.co.uk.
- Stephen Platten, Wakefield
- David Walker, Manchester
- Tim Stevens, Leicester
- Andy John, Bangor
- Tony Porter, Sherwood
- Paul Butler, Durham
- Alan Wilson, Buckingham
- Alan Smith, St Albans
- Nick Holtam, Salisbury
- Tim Thornton, Truro
- John Pritchard, Oxford
- Steven Croft, Sheffield
- Jonathan Gledhill, Lichfield
- Michael Perham, Gloucester
- Alastair Redfern, Derby
- Lee Rayfield, Swindon
- James Langstaff, Rochester
- Martin Warner, Chichester
- Mike Hill, Bristol
- Martin Wharton, Newcastle
- Peter Maurice, Taunton
- Gregory Cameron, St Asaph
- Peter Burrows, Doncaster
- Stephen Cottrell, Chelmsford
- Martyn Snow, Tewkesbury
- John Holbrook, Brixworth
- David Urquhart, Birmingham
Methodist Chairs of District
- Loraine Mellor, Nottingham and Derby
- John Hellyer, South East
- Jenny Impey , London
- Michaela Young, London
- Stuart Jordan, London
- Bruce Thompson, Lincolnshire
- Lionel Osborn, Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Revd Richard Teal, Cumbria
- Revd Jim Booth, Liverpool
- Revd Vernon Marsh. Sheffield
United Reformed Church
- Paul Whittle, Eastern Synod
- Simon Walkling, Synod of Wales
- Richard Church, Northwest Synod
- Clare Wood, Assistant General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Justice
- Helen Drewery, General Secretary for Quaker Peace and Social Justice
AND HERE IS THE COMMENT OF BISHOP NICK BAINES, FROM HIS BLOG:
Bishops have better things to do with their time than enter into ideological arguments that serve no purpose other than political point-scoring. To accuse signatory bishops of simplistic or malicious political bias is silly. Whatever their political views – and there is a range of opinion on welfare cuts and their effects – they are in touch with real people in every community of this country. So, when hearing government defences of the ‘moral intent’ of policies that directly affect the communities the churches and their clergy serve, they cannot remain silent about the realities on the ground. They might respect the moral intent – and even agree with it – whilst seeing the devastating consequences of that policy on the people we meet every day. The proliferation of food banks, coupled with the evidence that many, many poorly-paid working people are having to use them in order to feed their family, is a reality that poses a challenge to the moral effectiveness of the said policy.
See the full text here: http://nickbaines.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/bashing-the-bishops/