Monday, 20 April 2015
Rise in numbers using food banks shows the recovery hasn’t reached everyone.
The number of people in need of emergency food help is expected to reach one million according to the Trussell Trust which runs 400 food banks across the UK.
In 2005/06 2814 people were given three days emergency food supplies by the trust, by 2010/11 this had risen to 61,498 and rose again to 346,992 in 2012/13. Last year, 2013/14 the number of people using food banks jumped sharply to 913,138, of whom 330,205 are children.
The Trussell Trust says that staff at staff at its food banks cited government benefit sanctions as the main cause of referrals.
Rachel Orr, the Head of UK Poverty for Oxfam said, quoted on the Trussell Trust website, said: ‘ the fact that the number of people forced to turn to food banks has doubled in the last year and the situation is worsening for people in poverty is deeply worrying.’
The Conservatives have promised to cut a further £12 billion from government spending if returned to office, this will almost certainly mean more austerity, more cuts and more people forced into poverty.
Sean Adam, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Stoke North said: ‘" I am one of those caring people who spends money every month contributing to one of this country's worst social facilities; food banks. How sad it is to watch parliamentary banquets, on our televisions, taking place at the same time of day where those struggling are making a simple meal from a charitable donation from their local food bank"
Jan Zablocki, the party’s candidate for Stoke Central has also spoke out about issues relating to poverty in a number of public debates, calling for an end to zero hours contracts, better support for people on benefits and a rejection of monetarist economics.
Stoke-on-Trent is a city that faces considerable levels of deprivation, according to figures produces by the city council it is the 16th most deprived local authority area in England with 27.8% of children living in poverty and 16.1% of families in fuel poverty. The city has a larger than average number of people in low paid work (19.7% compared to a national average of 11.0%) earning an average wage of £11,984 per anum, the city also faces significant health challenges with a life expectancy 2.5 years lower than the national average.
All of these factors mean the impact of five years of austerity on local people has been severe and has exacerbated already deep seated social and economic problems. The solutions is not five more years of ideologically motivated cuts dispensed by central government; it is new thinking and radical actions of the sort only the Green Party can provide.
It is central to the policies of the Green Party to work towards a situation where everyone has a secure job that pays a living wage, public services are efficient and well- funded and addressing climate change is used as a means of creating new jobs in sustainable industries.
If in government working with progressive partners the Green Party would increase the minimum wage to be a living wage, phase in a shorter working week and get rid of exploitative zero hours contracts. Curb tax dodging by big corporations and control the activities of payday lenders by supporting alternatives such as credit unions. Bring in a 2% wealth tax levied on high earners, raise child support and put an end to private companies carrying out assessing benefit claimants.
A spokesperson for North Staffs Green Party said: ‘the continued rise in the number of people, many of them in work, using food banks shows that the supposed economic recovery hasn’t reached everyone.’
Adding ‘austerity policies imposed by an out of touch government of millionaires isn’t the solution to our economic and social problems. What we need is fresh thinking and radical actions; that is something only the Green Party is able to provide.’
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Statistical Summary February 2015
Trussell Trust:http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-figures-top-900000[accessed 19-4-2015]