Today Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams will use a debate in Westminster Hall to raise concerns over the recent sharp rise in the use of food banks in Wales and warn that the problem will intensify when the Coalition's welfare reform plans will be enforced in April.
There are currently 23 food banks in operation in Wales - nine of them opened in the past 12 months - feeding nearly 30,000 people last year, nearly three times as many as the previous year.
Mr Williams said these food banks are a vital safety net. But his concerns arise from the fact that nearly half of those who use food banks do so due to benefit changes or delays, and that this figure is set to soar as thousands of people face further cuts and confusion when the new Universal Credit system is rolled out in the spring.
Mr Williams said:
"In recent weeks, several exchanges have taken place during PMQs in which Members from both sides of the house have been seen to be playing politics with poverty.
"The bluster surrounding whether or not the Prime Minister will visit a food bank, and which party is responsible for the rise in their numbers, is an unwelcome distraction from the real issue which is that, in the 21st century, people are still struggling to afford enough food to eat in one of the richest countries in the world.
"Increasing income inequality, benefits not rising in line with inflation, food price inflation itself and the failure to ensure a living wage, are all reasons why ordinary people are earning less and spending more on daily essentials such as fuel and food.
"As more of the Coalition's plans to change the fundamental basis of the welfare state are implemented in April, these drivers of poverty will intensify, forcing more and more families to turn to food banks as they struggle to cover the cost of basic needs such as shelter, warmth, food and clothing.
"Plaid Cymru have consistently called for the introduction of a living wage to address the growing gulf between income and expenditure. Adopting this policy is essential so that we can begin to tackle the growing income disparity over recent decades which has led to some areas of the UK being ten times poorer than others.
"We also want to see the Welsh Government take robust action to develop the economy in Wales and create meaningful employment - one option being a Bank of Wales lending to local industries as recently proposed by Plaid Cymru.
"People who set up and run food banks do good work and offer what is essential a safety net in the present circumstances. But the reason for the rise in the use of food banks is not welcome.
“The fundamental causes of poverty must be addressed. We cannot settle for temporary fixes that create dependency and insecurity. Otherwise more and more food banks will open throughout the UK, making them the latest toxic feature of this Coalition Government's legacy."