Rugby poverty soars; low wages and benefit reductions blamed - The Rugby Observer

Rugby poverty soars; low wages and benefit reductions blamed

Rugby Editorial 21st Apr, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

POVERTY in Rugby continues to grow – with low income and delays or reductions in benefits cited as the main reasons people used the town’s homeless shelters and foodbank.

During the winter, homeless shelters saw a 50 per cent increase in guests – whose ages ranged from 18 to 64 – compared to the previous year.

And just under 3,170 emergency food packages were given out by Rugby Foodbank during 2015-16 – just 111 fewer than the previous year.

Revd Dr Michael Bochenski, chair of Hope 4 which runs the homeless shelters, said: “The need for the work of Hope 4, and the numbers we are helping each month, continues to grow.

“Particularly sad this year has been the number of new local people who have found themselves on the streets as a result of repossessions, or harsh evictions by landlords.

“All the signs are that the factors which have led to this significant increase are – sadly – unlikely to disappear in the near future.”

Rugby Foodbank Manager Diana Mansell said: “We welcome any drop in need for the Foodbank at the moment, but 3169 is still 3169 too many, and more needs to be done so the need for the foodbank declines.

“It is all too easy when you look at figures to forget the real people behind the statistics. No-one is immune from a crisis.

“We hope that one day there will be no need for us in Rugby. But until that day comes, we will continue to help local people facing a crisis.”

The Trussell Trust foodbank network reported a two per cent national increase in the supply of emergency food supplies on the previous year.

Rugby and Bulkington MP Mark Pawsey said it was highly undesirable that anybody should be in a position where they feel the need to visit a foodbank.

He said: “I firmly believe work is the best way out of poverty. Thanks to this government’s long term economic plan we have record employment across the country, wages are rising faster than inflation, income tax has been cut for over 25million people and child poverty is at its lowest level since the 1980s.

“Also, here in Rugby, since 2010 when the Conservative Party returned to government unemployment has more than halved.

“The government’s reforms are helping to encourage people back into work and to lift themselves out of poverty while also protecting the elderly and the most vulnerable and disabled people in our society.”

  • A FOOD collection for Rugby Foodbank will take place on Saturday (April 23) at Asda Supermarket.


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