Figures out today show that the Conservative Government has failed to help families trying to get by as figures from the Trussell Trust – who run Flintshire Foodbanks – show that 95,190 people in Wales are now using Foodbanks.
In a report published by the Trussell Trust this morning called ‘Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Foodbanks’ it is detailed how foodbanks are being used more and more by people on Universal Credit, which is slowly being rolled out across the country by the Government. The Trust have found that there has been an average increase in referrals for emergency food of 16.85%, more than double the national average of 6.64%.
The report states that:
“The effect of a six-plus week waiting period for a first Universal Credit payment can be serious, leading to foodbank referrals, debt, mental health issues, rent arrears and eviction. These effects can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up.”
Nationally, The Trussell Trust has seen a 6% increase referrals, which has resulted in their services provide 1,182,954 three day food supplies between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.
The Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust stated that “we cannot stop UK hunger alone. We need a welfare system that really does work for everyone.”
This report is damning of the Conservative Government’s failed social security reforms. Universal Credit is something I agree with in principle, but the way it has been handled has seen an astonishing number of people in Delyn being without the basics of food and a stable place to live. The emotional and physical pressure this brings is heart-breaking, and increasingly I meet people at my surgery facing a choice between eating or paying the rent.
The pressure that the Tories have placed Delyn under for the past seven years would only be set to get worse if they are given free reign over our public finances. I promise to mount a sustained attack on anyone who puts in place policies that harm working families. Universal Credit isn’t just something people use when unemployed and looking for work, it is used by families who are struggling to get by as the cost of the weekly shop seemingly never ceases to rise.
The Trussell Trust can only exist by the generosity of people in Delyn. I want to see a future when people no longer need foodbanks to exist. I will work hard with Labour to ensure those struggling to get by are supported. Working in the interests of the many and not the few.”