RUGBY’S Foodbank manager has welcomed a report which suggests changes to the welfare system are a crucial factor in the rise in poverty.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty published its findings this week, calling for a range of initiatives to tackle “hungry Britain” including a national network of state-backed food banks, the adoption of a fairer benefits system, and the introduction of a national living wage.
Rugby foodbank project manager Diana Mansell, who last winter said food was “going out as fast as it is coming in” after demand increased 65 per cent on the previous year, was pleased the report had been published.
“It reinforced what we locally and nationally have been finding for a long time. The reality is very tough for many people.
“The benefit system is complex and often harsh on those who most need its support. Food, fuel and housing costs have increased massively over the last decade but wages have not kept up, especially for those on the lowest income.
“I truly hope the government and all parties will take these findings very seriously and act to stem the tide of great inequality – they have a duty to act and not ignore.”
MP Mark Pawsey said: “The welfare system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed in order that no-one has to struggle to meet their basic needs.
“It is clear that people visit food banks for a variety of complex reasons which need to be understood.
“I will continue to fight to tackle the underlying reasons why people may need to visit foodbanks and as the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement showed this Government’s long-term economic plan is working, putting the country back on the path to prosperity, and creating jobs for local people which is the only sustainable way.”
Mrs Mansell added that she was amazed at the generosity of Rugby’s foodbank volunteers and donors.
“Here in Rugby this year we have helped over 3175 people (37% children) and received over 40 tonnes of food all donated by the public.” she said.
Visit www.rugby.foodbank.org.uk for more information on where to donate and what is most needed.