11th Dec, 2018

Alarm raised at rise in foodbank users as Universal Credit delays bite

Ross Crawford 10th Nov, 2018

THE organisation that runs foodbanks across the country, including in Redditch, says it provided 658,048 emergency supplies to people in crisis between April and September 2018, a 13 per cent increase on the same period in 2017.

And the Trussell Trust says that if the five week minimum wait for a first Universal Credit payment is not reduced, the only way to prevent even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter is to pause all new claims converting to the benefit.

Redditch was last year used as the guinea pig for Universal Credit in Worcestershire with the programme now being rolled out across the county, including Bromsgrove and Worcester.

Emma Revie, chief executive of The Trussell Trust said: “We created systems like our national health service, fire service and benefits system because we’re a country that believes in protecting each other. Our benefits system is supposed to anchor any of us from being swept into poverty, but if Universal Credit is to do that, we need to see urgent changes.”

“It’s not right that people are being forced to use foodbanks after weeks of waiting for Universal Credit payments.”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Redditch Rebecca Jenkins recently visited Batchley Support Group to see for herself the work being done to help those in need in the town.

“It’s a desperate situation that this winter, thousands of families will have to rely on foodbanks to stave off hunger,” she said.

“And the figures from the Trussell Trust do not include the sterling work the Batchley Support Group carry out in providing over 450 meals per month from their community pantry.

“We’re a rich country. We’re better than this.”

A national petition calling on the Government to fix Universal Credit from the End Hunger UK campaign, backed by The Trussell Trust and a range of charities and faith groups, was delivered to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, November 7.

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