This week’s news holds some staggering statistics. Over 90% of charities receiving food from FareShare have experienced a rise in demand. Over half (51%) are helping people in full-time employment. Meanwhile, the ONS puts food inflation at 14.5%. That rises to 17% for budget lines.

It’s against this backdrop FareShare has called for £25m to meet growing demand. It will hardly be the only plea to new PM Rishi Sunak, who takes the helm amid a spiralling economic crisis. And unluckily for anyone requiring funds, austerity is set to be order of the day. Jeremy Hunt’s much-anticipated November budget looks set to be watered down from original proposals, but tax rises and spend cuts are still expected to feature among his “difficult decisions”.

One decision that shouldn’t be difficult, though, is marking the likes of FareShare as a priority. At a time when hunger is dominating the headlines, the case for distributing surplus food is only stronger. As FareShare points out, the quoted £25m would help transport the high volumes of food readily available from suppliers – food that would otherwise go to waste.

Other initiatives also warrant careful consideration. The Food Foundation has recently highlighted the economic case for expanding free school meals to all children in England from households receiving universal credit. An analysis by PwC found for every £1 invested, £1.38 would be returned through social, health and educational benefits.

Then there’s Healthy Start. Government spend on the scheme has fallen 70% in the past 10 years. Yet among those it’s helping, it’s working. IGD research this week suggests when supermarkets boost use of the vouchers, recipients buy more fruit & veg and fewer discretionary items. It’s easy to see how that could reduce pressure on the NHS.

Of course, these are long-term gains, which must be balanced against the need for short-term pain. The government has a tough job to do in weighing up investment in the future with current constraints on budgets. However, in this balancing act, hunger can’t be an accepted outcome.