BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field is set to co-chair a wide-ranging inquiry into hunger and "food poverty" in Britain.

The investigation will examine the causes of hunger in Britain and assess what steps have been taken to alleviate it compared with other Western countries.

Mr Field, who will co-chair the probe with the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, called for an inquiry to be set up last September.

The Labour MP wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron expressing concern food banks are becoming “an institutional part of our welfare state.”

He called on Mr Cameron to help build an “effective anti-poverty strategy” for families who rely on their local food banks.

Mr Field said: “The Bishop of Truro and I are bringing forward this inquiry because at long last the debate has taken off."

A research summit on food poverty is due to take place on April 9, while regional meetings to gather evidence from Merseyside, Truro, Tyneside and South Thanet.

A series of background papers will begin to be published from next week.