Food bank figures

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A new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study casts doubt on claims that public spending cuts leave increasing numbers of UK families going hungry.

Figures from the 34-nation survey show the British proportion is actually falling, with the number saying there were times when they could not afford food around 8 per cent.

It was 10 per cent in 2007, a year before Gordon Brown’s long boom turned to bust, and things are much better here than in the United States, Eastern Europe and the European Union’s Club Med.

In only ten countries is the ­situation better, and these predictably include the wealthy ­nations of Switzerland, Germany and Japan, as well as Scandinavia and the Benelux.

Yet the number of UK food banks has soared over the past five years with churches, charities and the Left claiming that well over half a million people are “starving”.

While few resort easily to food parcels, it is clear more people will visit the banks if more exist, and the OECD study sheds some light in the dark corners of this fractious debate.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews