Needs of the hungry must come first

The average UK household’s annual food bill was over £100 higher in 2012 than in 2011, putting a strain on overstretched household budgets. In poorer countries, where people often spend most of their incomes on food, price rises have an even greater impact, forcing millions to go hungry.

One of the reasons prices have been rising so rapidly is that banks and hedge funds are pouring millions of pounds of speculative money into food futures markets, pushing prices beyond the levels dictated by supply and demand.

Access to food is a basic human right, and banks should not be allowed to play havoc with food prices. New legislation to limit food speculation is on the table at the EU, but George Osborne and his Treasury colleagues have so far blocked tough controls. We must demand that our politicians put the needs of hungry people, at home and abroad, before the profits of investment banks.

Chris Benner