Food banks
Trussell Trust figures showed that food bank in Britain surged between 2009 and 2014 IBTimes UK

A Labour government would slash food bank use in the UK with a five-point action plan, according to Maria Eagle.

The shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary announced that the strategy would address the "root causes" of food bank dependency.

The plan would see a Labour government tackle low pay, ensure that there is a "joined-up approach" to food policy in government and ensure that the welfare system "treats people fairly".

"The Tories' attitude to the relentless rise in hunger in Britain speaks volumes for who they stand up for," Eagle said.

"They refuse to accept any responsibility for it, despite the fact their policies are making it worse.

She added: "Emergency food aid should remain just that - food banks can never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society."

Eagle cited figures from the Trussell Trust, the largest co-ordinator of food banks in the UK, which showed that food bank usage has jumped from 41,000 in 2009/10 to almost one million people (913,000) in 2013/14.

But a source close to the shadow minister told IBTimes UK that Labour would not commit to a specific target, instead Ed Miliband's party would seek to bring overall food bank usage down by the end of the next Parliament.

"The key thing is that we need to do more to understand the problem, which is something that this government haven't bothered doing. They've avoided it – they've pretended it doesn't exist," the source said.

The government has maintained that there is no evidence of a link between its welfare reforms and the rise of food bank use in Britain.

The pledge comes with just weeks to go before the general election in May, with Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck (35% vs 35%) in the latest poll from YouGov.

Food banks: The struggle to feed BritainIBTimes UK