Hungry councillors refused meals for 24 hours to raise awareness of the plight of desperate constituents forced to use food banks.
The fast was called by Brent Council leader Councillors Muhammed Butt (Labour) as a protest against their perceived government inaction on rising food poverty in the borough that has seen families turning to handouts to feed themselves.
Labour councillors voted through a motion at the full council meeting at Brent Civic Centre in Engineers Way, Wembley, on Monday to invite work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan Smith and food minister Owen Paterson to the two food banks in the borough.
Councillors decided to take action after Tory MPs jeered their way through a debate on food banks in the House of Commons held in December which Mr Duncan-Smith left after an hour and Mr Paterson did not attend.
Mr Butt said: “I would welcome the opportunity to show Mr Duncan-Smith the fantastic service provided by food banks in my borough.The growing need for food banks in areas like Brent is a damning indictment of this government’s failed economic policies.
“The Tories and Lib Dems are turning a blind eye as rising energy bills, rents and transport fares force families to rely on charity to get by. Helping out at a local food bank over the holidays, I met countless parents skipping meals so their kids would have enough to eat. While Brent’s Labour councillors are going on the ‘IDS diet’ on a voluntary basis, this is not a choice for vulnerable people in communities across the country.”
The Labour group’s motion pledges to continue to support food banks in the borough by helping them to find suitable facilities, providing financial advice and strengthening referral pathways to community and voluntary sector institutions dedicated to combatting poverty, such as credit unions.
There was also a collection for food banks at the meeting. It will be donated to the Brent Food Bank, run by The Trussell Trust and based at Christ Church with St Laurence Brondesbury in Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, or the Sufra NW London Food Bank and Kitchen in Canterbury Terrace, South Kilburn.