Shocking rise in hunger due to poverty and climate change

ReutersA new survey reveals growing food poverty in Britain

As many as one million adults could have used a food bank during 2016, according to research commissioned by Church Urban Fund.

The ComRes poll of more than 2,000 British adults found one in 50 of those surveyed said that they had used a food bank during 2016. This equates to nearly 1 million adults across Britain. Even more people, 1 in 20 adults, said they had missed meals in the past 12 months because they could not afford food.

'This demonstrates that the extent of food poverty reaches far beyond food banks and into the homes of millions of people who have had to miss meals without reaching out for help,' said the fund.

More than one in ten respondents said they had experienced worry or anxiety about being able to afford enough food for themselves or their family during 2016.

In addition, 1 in 10 British adults missed celebrating a birthday, Christmas, or other special occasion because they could not afford it.

The figures reflect growing concern about social isolation and loneliness, with low income being the main factor behind food poverty.

In the last year, one in three adults worried about not having enough money left over every month to save for the future.

The fund said: 'Food poverty is not an issue that can be resolved by charities, churches, faith groups and community groups alone, important though these contributions are. A collaborative and concerted response is needed across all sectors of society including government, employers and civil society.'

The Church Urban Fund report came as the UN's State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World study found the number of hungry people in the world is on the rise for the first time in a decade, a figure has been driven by conflict and climate change. 

 Tearfund global advocacy and influencing director Dr Ruth Valerio said: 'After a decade of declining levels of global hunger, this report should act as a wake up call to all of us. People are being pushed further into poverty around the world because the climate is changing fast. There are more droughts, more floods, and less reliable rain, which makes it harder for people in poverty to feed themselves.

'The historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below 2°C, but to make a significant difference to the world's hungry people, governments need to take urgent action to keep these promises.

'This news motivates us all to play our part by minimising our carbon footprints and continuing to call for peace in places where conflict leads to hunger.

'It's a huge injustice that the poorest communities suffer the most from climate change, when they've contributed the least to the problem.

'If we want to beat poverty, injustice and hunger we need to tackle climate change.'