IN his latest column, Labour’s Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid discusses Universal Credit

Access to food is the most basic of human rights – fundamental to all forms of life.

Yet in the world’s sixth richest country, people are left to go hungry.

Food insecurity has soared in Britain since 2010.

There are now 2,000 food banks across the UK for those who cannot afford to feed themselves.

Under the Government, zero-hour contracts, stagnating wages and draconian benefit sanctions are key factors pushing people to food banks.

But perhaps the most needless and infuriating cause of food insecurity is the five-week wait for Universal Credit.

According to the Trussell Trust, areas that have been subject to two years of Universal Credit rollout like Warrington have seen an average 48 per cent increase in food bank demand since the arrival of the welfare reform.

Areas where Universal Credit has been in operation for 18 months saw a rise of 40 per cent, while those where Universal Credit had been introduced in the past year experienced a 30 per cent rise in food bank use.

Since my election in 2017, I have been helping constituents deal with the unfairness of the system.

I have seen first-hand how Universal Credit is causing misery and hardship.

The Tory’s flagship welfare reform programme has put claimants in rent arrears or left them unable to afford their gas or electricity bill, forcing people to turn to food banks in large numbers.

Labour recently announced that in Government it would scrap Universal Credit and replace it with a social security system dedicated to dignity, universalism and eradicating poverty.

These measures would lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty by scrapping the two-child limit and benefit cap. They would reduce hardship by ending the five-week wait, introducing fortnightly payments, suspending sanctions and ending the digital only approach. We would reduce homelessness by paying the housing element direct to landlords.

Labour would also act decisively to end food poverty once and for all – setting a bold target to end the need for food banks altogether within its first three years.

And we would ensure that everyone in the UK has a Right to Food by enshrining it in UK law, in a new Fair Food Act.

The new law would create a National Food Commission to monitor food insecurity, make recommendations to governments and oversee all aspects of the food system in Britain.

A Labour government would take the urgent and concerted action that is needed to end the injustices felt by so many in our communities.