The Bishop of Wakefield will fast for a day to highlight the plight of starving people.
Bishop Stephen Platten is one of 27 Anglican bishops and 16 other clergy who have accused the government of ‘creating hardship and hunger’ in a letter to a national newspaper.
The letter, which slams benefit cuts, is part of the national End Hunger Fast campaign which launches on March 5 – the first day of Lent.
The letter says: “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.”
The letter goes on to point out that half a million people have visited foodbanks, like the one at St Catherine’s Church Centre in Wakefield, since last Easter, and thousands were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition.
But the Prime Minister David Cameron said the welfare changes are part of a ‘moral mission’ and that they gave people ‘hope.’
Speaking to the Express yesterday, Bishop Platten said the church’s involvement in the campaign was not party political.
He said: “It’s clear that however important it is to reform the welfare process, which it is, and all parties would agree that, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t cause people hardship.
“The fast won’t immediately help those who are starving, but we do hope it will raise awareness of the extent of the problem.”
Bishop Platten will complete his fast on Friday, March 7. He added; “I’m doing it on an ordinary working day, so while other people are enjoying coffee, cake and snacks in meetings, I’ll be having water. I hope other busy, ordinary people get on board with the campaign too.”
End Hunger Fast is supported by foodbank volunteers, church groups and poverty activists. It aims to call on the government to meet its duty of care to citizens.
It includes a Westminster vigil and national day of fasting on April 4. Visit www.endhungerfast.co.uk