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Bankers Ruin Pancake Day

Bankers have been blamed for a lot in recent years. The financial crisis, the collapse of the housing market and perilous state of government finances have all been laid at the feet of the bankers of Wall Street, the City of London and beyond.

Now, though, the bankers are being accused of going too far and are targeting pancake day, according to the World Development Movement, an NGO that targets world poverty.

"According to the UN FAO's food price index, prices have risen for the 8th consecutive month to the highest since the index was started in 1990," the WDM said.

"The index consists of a basket of key commodities such as wheat, milk, meat and sugar. The index is widely watched by economists and politicians around the world as the first indicator of whether prices will end up higher on shop shelves in their own countries," the WDM added.

In response to these price rises, anti-poverty campaigners the World Development Movement argue that banks and hedge funds are helping to drive up the price of food to record levels through "reckless speculation on basic foods such as wheat and sugar."

"Wheat prices have increased by 60 per cent in the last year and the campaigners say that this is being fuelled by speculation because, despite drought and fires affecting harvests, there is no global shortage in the supply of wheat," according to the WDM.

Pancakes Less Enjoyable?

"In the UK, the pleasure of pancake day will be a little less enjoyable as families feel the pinch of higher prices for the key ingredients," Murray Worthy, policy officer at World Development Movement, said, "while those in developing countries, women especially, are struggling to afford enough to food to properly feed their families."

"These higher food prices are being fuelled by the greed of bankers who are speculating on essential foods to make a quick buck," Worthy said.

"Food isn't an asset; it is fundamental to human life. The UK government should be backing calls at the G20 to regulate this shadowy speculation, but instead are dragging their heels while women are going hungry," Worthy added.