Working people should not be in a situation where they cannot afford to feed their own children, a government committee was told.
Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, told the committee that there is a “hidden bracket” of people in the UK who cannot afford food.
Speaking at the Environmental Audit Committee on Tuesday, Mr Smith said: “The people you see who are vulnerable and poor and in need can access food banks and can get access to food.
“It’s the ones who are not getting access that I think are the real problem right now, and I think that’s going to increase more and more in the next year.
“The weather’s about to change on us, people are going to have to choose between heating their homes and getting food.”
Mr Smith said that he frequently comes into contact with parents who cannot afford to feed their children, but are unable to access food banks because they are in full time work and ineligible for benefits.
He told the committee: “If we want to end hunger, we need to stop feeding the poor.
“We need to feed everybody, and make sure that everybody has the human right to have access to this food.
“We waste so much of it in this country that we could feed everybody with just the waste alone, let alone the food that’s being produced to feed people.
“People shouldn’t be in the situation where they can’t afford to feed their own children whilst they’re going to work.”
Mr Smith founded The Real Junk Food Project, an environmental project which aims to eliminate food waste by intercepting food bound for landfill and offering this to consumers on a Pay-As-You-Feel basis.
The charity recently opened a 24/7 sharehouse in Wakefield, where people are encouraged to take the food they need in exchange for their time, money or skills.
The Environmental Audit Committee, which was chaired by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, aimed to investigate the UK Government’s approach to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals designed to provide a more sustainable future for all.
The goals have been adopted by 193 member states, but a report from the previous Environmental Audit Committee accused the UK Government of being “uninterested in raising the profile of the goals.”
Tuesday’s committee was part of a Voluntary National Review to be submitted to the UN, which will assess what steps have been taken by the Government to achieve the goals, take stock of progress that has been made and establish what work still needs to be done.