Today the Trussell Trust released figures which confirm the grim reality of Christmas for so many families in Britain. They expect this to be the busiest Christmas to date for their foodbank network. They have called on us all to help those facing hunger at Christmas.
“New data released today reveals that during December 2016, The Trussell Trust’s network provided 146,798 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 61,093 of these went to children.
This a 47% increase on the monthly average of three-day emergency supplies provided in the 2016/17 financial year, which was 99,995. This means December 2016 was the busiest month for Trussell Trust foodbanks on record, but recent statistics showing a 13% in foodbank use during the first six months of this financial year suggest December 2017 will be even busier.”
The situation is exacerbated by the roll out of Universal Credit – which has inbuilt problems making life even harder for poor, often working, families. This Christmas will be cancelled for thousands of families claiming the new benefit Universal Credit. Despite knowing Universal Credit causes serious problems for claimants, Theresa May’s Tory government is pressing ahead and rolling it out to thousands of people who will have to wait weeks to receive any money.
You can donate to the Trussell Fund here – or contribute food in many local supermarkets.
But the longer-term answers will have to be political.
As Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commenting on these new Trussell Trust Christmas figures, said:
“Despite what the Government might think, it is absolutely unacceptable that so many families rely on foodbanks to get through Christmas.
“We know that the Tories’ botched Universal Credit roll out, and their freeze to social security are causing people to visit foodbanks to make ends meet.”
Tomorrow – Saturday 2 December – here in Leeds you can join Unite the Union’s campaign against Universal Credit.
Meeting outside Debenhams, 121 Briggate, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Labour is working hard to get the government to halt the roll out of this new benefit – which is manifestly not fit for purpose.
Debbie again: “The social security system should not increase the need for foodbanks.
“Labour is calling on the Government to pause and fix Universal Credit before Christmas, and lift the harmful social security freeze.”