On Thursday 23rd March this debate took place on the theme of Food Price Inflation which was set out by Jim McMahon who is the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton in the North area of Manchester and he is also the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He opened the debate with “(Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on food price inflation.” which was clearly focused on Therese Coffey. However Therese did not get involved and instead the Minister was Mark Spencer. After a more detailed response from Jim McMahon and several other MPs who took part, Chris Elmore spoke. He is the Labour MP for Ogmore which is in the South of Wales and he is also described as the Opposition Whip (Commons). His question was as follows and the response came from Mark Spencer which sadly ignored the theme and so we clearly need more MPs to raise the same theme until the Government can get challenged. I am very proud that both MPs in Brighton have visited our FareShare on several occasions so there are several MPs that can add to the call from Chris Elmore.
Chris Elmore: There are 10 food pantries across my constituency supplying the surplus food from the various main supermarkets for between £5 and £10 per bag. The demand is so great that the volunteers cannot keep up with people doing their weekly shops at these pantries. We now face a new challenge: FareShare, which co-ordinates the surplus food, is running out of surplus food. What is the Minister going to do to start dealing with the huge problem of constituents paying for a week’s food of whatever they can find for £10, which is almost past its sell-by date, but the suppliers are running out? When is he going to get a grip and start dealing with the issues of food poverty in this country?
Mark Spencer: The hon. Gentleman is right to draw attention to the great support our retailers are giving to those people who face that challenge; they continue to work with charities in that sector to help supply food to the most vulnerable. Of course, the Government also play their part with a huge package of support, helping people through this challenge.