Greens in the South East region have criticised the government for failing vulnerable people on low incomes, in light of new figures on food bank usage in the region.
New figures released by the Trussell Trust, a charity which runs a network of food banks across the UK, show that food bank use in the South East has risen, once again. This highlights that food poverty in the UK is a continuing trend, and is not confined to poor regions; the South East is the 2nd wealthiest region of the UK, after London.
Between April and September 2015, Trussell Trust foodbanks gave 44,427 three days food supplies to people in crisis, compared to 43,869 during the same period in 2014. Trussell Trust found that the main reason for foodbank use in the region is benefit delays and changes. Of those receiving handouts in the South East, 16,787 were children.
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for the South East, and author of a report on food bank usage in the South East said:
"These shocking new figures are an indictment of the British economy. Whilst Ministers pat themselves on the back, this so-called economic ‘recovery’ is clearly leaving millions behind.
Across the UK we’re seeing people facing benefits cuts, tougher sanctions and wage stagnation. At the same time bills are going up every month. It’s no wonder that so many people are struggling to feed their families.
It is clear that the British economy is failing to work for the common good. While some people at the top continue to thrive many millions are suffering the lingering effects of an financial crisis they didn’t cause."
Jonathan Essex, Green Party County Councillor for Surrey, said:
“It’s a damning indictment on our government that it’s comfortable for these levels of hunger to be a normal part of life for many in 21st century Britain. We should not rely on increasing numbers of foodbank volunteers to provide lifelines to ameliorate the worst impacts of central government imposed widening inequality in Britain.”
Nationally, the Trussell Trust has seen a three percent rise in demand for emergency food supplies. Benefit delay and cuts, as well as low income are key causal factors in this trend.
1) For further information, visit the Trussell Trust website.