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Poverty and hunger in the UK

Oxfam's 'Below the Breadline' report, compiled in conjunction with Church Action on Poverty, the Trussell Trust, and including figures from food redistribution charity FareShare, reveals a scandalous situation in Britain in 2014.

Today, Britain is a country where one in five people live below the poverty line and life expectancy in some areas is lower than in some developing countries. Yet the rich keep getting richer opening up a massive inequality gap. In fact, the UK is on course to become one of the most unequal countries in the industrialised world.

Listen: Why Oxfam campaigns on
food poverty in the UK


"When I get paid I can eat for the first two weeks. And then I'm out of money - I go to my neighbour." Patricia, East London.

People can't earn enough to live on

Another fallout from the 'perfect storm' that many people face every day - rising prices, unfair working conditions, benefit cuts, reduced buying power - is that a growing number of families are facing food poverty.

It seems unbelievable in the 21st century that in the UK - the world's seventh wealthiest nation - people are going hungry. Increasing numbers of people are being forced to use food banks in order to feed their families.

Read the 'Below the Breadline' report


"We don't get to eat real food like fruit and vegetables. We only have proper food once a month now." Tracy, mother of one daughter, Essex.

The rise of food banks

The number of food bank parcels given to people grew by 54 per cent in the 12 months to April 2014.

The ongoing cuts have frayed the already tenuous social safety net for many people, and proposed legislation ending support for local assistance schemes to be introduced next year, will push even more people into debt and poverty.

We need politicians from all parties to address the issues and work to end this growing inequality and the resulting hunger and hardship it means for millions of ordinary people.


What we're calling for

We want:

  • the government to fulfill its fundamental duty to provide a social security system that acts as a safety net for vulnerable people instead of forcing them into food poverty.
  • government to commission independent research into the use of food banks and use the findings to tackle the issues.
  • all political parties to address food poverty in the UK and commit to increasing the National Minimum Wage to the Living Wage by 2020.
  • the government to FULLY review the use of zero-hours contracts and social security sanctions in view of their impact on hardship and hunger.