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Foodbank usage in South East England reaches record high as Government cuts support for the poorest households

April 26, 2019 9:18 AM
Christine Jardine (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Lib Dem Work and Pensions spokesperson Christine Jardine MP

A record number of people in South East England are being forced to turn to foodbanks, according to figures released today by the Trussell Trust.

In the year ending 31 March 2019, 148.640 emergency food packages were delivered to people in crisis in South East England. This is a 21% increase in the last year and a 62% increase on five years ago. Over 55,000 of the packages were given to children.

Responding to this announcement, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

"These figures show the Conservative Government's failure to ensure that everyone in our society has financial security.

"The Conservatives have presided over a toxic mix of social security cuts that have left thousands of people unable to afford the basics. The benefits freeze and cuts to Universal Credit have left households in the lurch.

"Liberal Democrats demand better so that everyone has the dignity of financial security. We would reverse the cuts to Universal Credit, end the benefits freeze immediately and give people the flexibility to decide how often their Universal Credit is paid."

Tim Prater, Liberal Democrat campaigner in Folkestone and Hythe (South East England), said:

"Universal Credit leaves people waiting at least five weeks for their first payment - and that's if there aren't complications with their application. Advance payments can soften the blow, but they're no good if you don't know how much to ask for. Plus, they have to be paid back within a year, leaving households with much less to live off over the next 12 months.

"I want a future in which no one needs a foodbank. We're campaigning in South East England to shorten the five week wait and to invest in Universal Support so that people have the skills to manage their money well."