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‘IF’ CAMPAIGN RELIGIOUS LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT

On 15th May 2013 Brs Peter, Vaughan, Benedict, and Hugh with TSSF members Caroline Ugbo, Richard Martin, Ann Hussey and Denise Yeldham attended the ‘Enough Food for Everyone If’ lobby of Parliament, organised by Cafod and Church Action on Poverty. We met at Central Hall for an opening liturgy, with several hundred members of religious orders. Timothy Radcliffe OP spoke on how Moses lobbied Pharaoh, and how important it is to lobby the authorities on behalf of the poor today as well. 8 years ago Make Poverty History called for aid to be raised to 0.7% of GNI, and it finally has been, under this present government. The call today for world hunger to end also has a realistic chance of fruition. In the 1950s 1 in 3 was hungry, now it is only 1 in 8.

Then we learnt to ask our MPs …

Nutrition – since 2 m children die of malnutrition each year, we ask our MPs to call on the PM to prioritise nutrition at the  G8 hunger summit.

Tax evasion and avoidance robs poor countries of £102bn p.a.  But ending hunger would cost only £33bn p.a.   We ask our MPs to write to David Cameron urging him to ensure G8 leaders tackle tax dodging by launching a global convention on tax transparency.

Transparency – Powerful companies need to be accountable not just to investors but to broader society. We ask our MPs to write to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills to update the Companies Act requiring companies to report on their human rights issues.

Brs. Peter, Vaughan and Benedict process past Westminster Abbey to Parliament with IF placards

Brs. Peter, Vaughan and Benedict process past Westminster Abbey to Parliament with IF placards.

Hugh, Ann Hussey, Richard Martin and Caroline Ugbo waiting to pass through security into Westminster Hall

Hugh, Ann Hussey, Richard Martin and Caroline Ugbo waiting to pass through security into Westminster Hall.

The London brothers meeting Lyn Brown MP for West Ham.

The London brothers meeting Lyn Brown MP for West Ham.

A Conservative Minister in DFID and then Ed Milliband thanked us for coming, for it encouraged MPs of all parties on such an important topic, as religious are known for living in some of the poorest places on earth. Back in Central Hall, Sarah Teather, a Lib Dem MP, also thanked us for coming, showing that MPs in all parties are committed to ending hunger.

Before the concluding  prayers, CAFOD director Chris Bain, added: ‘It’s vital that the scandal of hunger is at the top of the agenda when the G8 comes to the UK next month. It has been inspiring to see so many religious people lobby their MPs. The voice of religious communities and individuals from across the UK is important in the conversation on global hunger.”

We were encouraged to return to London on 8th June for the IF rally in Hyde Park, organised by over 200  charities. On that day, the 8th, there would also be a G8 Hunger Summit in London to find a way to help the 1 in 8 who go to bed hungry each night.