Birkenhead MP Frank Field has written to the Prime Minister urging him to launch a public inquiry into hunger, food poverty and the huge increase in demand for food banks across Britain.

In his letter to David Cameron, Mr Field expresses his concern that food banks are becoming “an institutional part of our welfare state”.

He calls on Mr Cameron to use an inquiry to help build an “effective anti-poverty strategy” for families who draw help from their local food bank.

More than 5,900 people have used Birkenhead food bank in the last six months.

Mr Field suggests an inquiry should come to terms with the root causes of food poverty, such as household debt and cuts and delays to benefit entitlements, and recommends an assessment of the effectiveness of existing services in helping to tackle hunger and food poverty.

In his letter, Mr Field writes: “I am equally concerned that food banks are becoming an institutional part of our welfare state.

“Might I therefore ask you to initiate a short enquiry so that it will become possible to answer the following questions and from the answers build an effective antipoverty strategy for families who draw help from the local food bank?

 “If the present trends continue, we will see food banks operating in most constituencies.

“I would hope that the short inquiry might lay the basis of the strategy that would prevent this scenario."