Jessica Morden Jessica Morden - Labour MP for Newport East, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and PPS to Keir Starmer
The Trussell Trust have released new statistics showing a further increase in food bank use across the UK. This is yet more evidence of the need for the UK Government to fix the hugely flawed Universal Credit system.
Across Gwent there was an average rise in food bank use of nearly 17% between April 2018 and March 2019, and 9,001 children across the region received three day emergency food supplies. In Newport itself the picture is event starker, with a staggering 26% increase in the number of local people receiving emergency three-day food supplies over the same timeframe.
Across the UK, food banks in The Trussell Trust network distributed 1,583,668 three day emergency food supplies to help people in crisis between April 2017 and March 2019. Of these, 577,618 went to children.
The Trussell Trust have called on the Government to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment as a ‘first priority’ to ending the growing use of food banks
These shocking new statistics from the Trussell Trust represent a damning indictment of this Government’s dismal failure to tackle poverty in the UK. It should be a source of national embarrassment that so many families are turning to food banks to feed their families, including here in Gwent. It can’t be right that 9,000 children across the region have had to rely on emergency food supplies over the last year. It’s a shameful reality which the Government cannot sweep under the carpet.
The policy of a five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment must come to an end. As the Trussell Trust have highlighted, it is common sense to learn lessons from what foodbanks have already seen when Universal Credit is rolled out, and the next stage of the new benefits system does not have to repeat the issues people have already faced. It’s time for urgent action from the Secretary of State.
You can read more on the Trussell Trust’s findings on their website at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/