MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, has today called the link between government welfare reform policies and increased foodbank use “undeniable”, following the recent publication of the Trussell Trust’s annual foodbank statistics.
The Trussell Trust reported that between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, their foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people across the UK, including 484,026 to children. These figures indicate a 13% increase on the previous year.
According to the trust, the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for people attending foodbanks is “Low income – benefits, not earning”. Responses in this category have increased significantly since April 2016.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“Examining these figures from the Trussell Trust, it is now undeniable that there is a link between government welfare reform policies and increased foodbank use.
“It is utterly appalling that in today’s society, people must rely on food parcels due to not having enough to live on. The report speaks to the fact that the basic costs of food, housing and utility bills continue to rise, and benefits are failing to keep pace.
“The number of foodbank referrals as a result of a reduction in benefit, or due to delays when moving to a new benefit such as Universal Credit, have seen a dramatic upturn. Similarly, the Trussell Trust commented that foodbank projects in Universal Credit rollout areas have experienced an average increase of 52% in the preceding 12 months, with many citing issues when transitioning to the new benefit.
“We already know about the squeeze being put on families as a result of the benefit cap, and the damaging consequences of the two-child limit and rape clause, now there is real and demonstrable evidence elucidating a clear link between changes to welfare and increased use of foodbanks.
“It is incumbent on Ministers not to ignore the burden of evidence that has been presented on increasedfoodbank use. To do so would serve only to reassert that this is a government that cares little about the unmistakeable plight of so many across the country”.