Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given emergency food since the charity began in 2000. Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12.
Unfortunately I’m not surprised by the Trust’s latest figures as more and more people, many of whom are in jobs, are coming to my surgeries saying they are in dire straits. I visited Oldham’s Foodbank a few weeks ago and they said that in the last 3 months they had seen demand for help soar.
This situation is down to increases in the cost of living and the government’s relentless economic policies which ultimately effects jobs. Unemployment went up 70,000 last week and 1 in 10 are underemployed. The Government’s refusal to change course even though we have a flat lining economy, that was growing at the end of 2010, is what is fuelling the need for help from the foodbanks.
The Government were warned by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just last week that this drive for so-called austerity was hampering growth. And last month the Chairman of the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), in response to David Cameron claiming that the cuts were needed to help growth, wrote to him saying the cuts had wiped out 1.4% of growth from the economy; and we are borrowing more – £245bn – as a result of this.
For a long time Labour has been warning this Government that they are cutting too far and too fast and, unfortunately, today’s Trussell Trust figures are just one indication that show the damaging effects this Government’s policies are having on the lowest income families. It is ordinary people who are suffering from this Government’s incompetence and ideologically-driven cuts.
The Chancellor’s own analysis of his Budget reveals that the 40% lowest income households will be worse off as a result of the different measures he has introduced.
And all this is happening at the same time as the government is giving a tax cut of £40,000 to millionaires and a 10% tax cut to those who earn over £150,000!