The Archbishop of York has revealed he has seen children go to school with an empty lunchbox in the morning, to fill up at the school foodbank at the end of the day.
Most Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell told the House of Lords that he recently visited schools in the Middlesbrough and Hull area, where there were "great hopes" for levelling up, but he stressed "now it seems like a distant dream."
Speaking in the House of Lords yesterday, he said: "My Lords I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of exactly where we find ourselves, but I do serve communities in the North.
"I'm thinking particularly people I have met recently in Middlesbrough and Hull, where there were great hopes for levelling up, which now seems like a distant dream.
"I visited a school recently where children go to school with an empty lunchbox in the morning, to fill up food from the foodbank in the playground at the end of the day.
"The budget for school meals has gone up by two percent, yet food inflations has gone up by more than ten percent."
Most Rt Rev Cottrell said that "tough decisions" need to be made and asked on behalf of the communities where he serves whether the benefits are going to rise in line with inflation.
He went on further to say if this doesn't happen "millions of people are being moved into poverty and those who recently donated to foodbanks are now visiting them, themselves."
In response to Most Rt Rev Cottrell's comments, a member of the Conservative Party in House of Lords said: "My Lords I did say, and would like to reiterate, that the purpose of the government is certainly to help those who are vulnerable and to help those also who are living in some state of anxiety.
"That's why in relation to the energy help, we are looking at ways and seeking concentration on helping the most vulnerable as we go forward.
"I can very much reassure Rev Cottrell that the levelling up programme will continue and many of the growth measures that were announced will continue.
"I hope that if local authorities in your area will wish for example to set up investment zones to attract jobs and investment into areas, in the way the government would like to see, then the Rt Rev will give support to those in those depositions."