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The scandal of Britain’s food banks

Luciana Berger, the fantastic Labour & Co-operative MP for Liverpool Wavertree, has made this powerful film about the scandal of food banks in the UK.

109,294 adults and children in the UK received at least days of emergency food aid between April and September 2012, with the figure expected to rise to over 200,000 by April 2013, according to the Guardian earlier this year.

Given more people than ever are relying on emergency food handouts, I’m pleased that the Co-operative is campaigning to make more food available to those who need it. Today the Co-operative Food has teamed up with the Salvation Army and ITV’s Daybreak to launch the You CAN Help campaign, encouraging shoppers to buy an extra can of food on their regular Co-op shop this week and leaving it in the special drop boxes in one of the 1,000 participating stores for distribution by the Salvation Army.

As a member of the Co-operative Group’s committees supporting local community projects and campaigns in South London, we have been receiving requests to help projects with finance and publicity. I’ll be making sure the Co-op continues to do what it can.

But in the end, sorting this scandal has to be more than emergency handouts. This should be about making work pay, with a living wage that allows families to feed themselves; and a benefits system that helps people live in dignity and with the finances they need to look after their families, whether they’re in work or looking for a job.

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