Emergency Budget gets the food poverty test

1st December 2015

David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust said:

“We have two simple tests for the budget being delivered today.  Firstly, what does it do to reduce the number of people in poverty and hunger?  Secondly, what does it do to ensure the Government is supporting the work of charities and social enterprise in taking people out of poverty.

“Our figures show the number of people fed by foodbanks remains at its highest ever level after a period of cost of living rises, a pay squeeze, and issues for welfare recipients caused by recent reforms.

“Part of the answer to the first test is tackling low pay. We welcome growing calls in recent weeks from inside and outside of Government to raise the minimum wage and champion the living wage. Our foodbanks continue to report that large numbers of clients who are in work are struggling with insecure work, low wages and high living costs.  There is a direct link between precariousness in work and the number of people who end up needing temporary help from Trussell Trust foodbanks.

“The second part of the answer is the approach to welfare reform. We are not opposed to the principle of reform, but feel strongly that both present and planned reforms affecting vulnerable individuals and families must be examined and measured to ensure a safety net is in place to help those most in need of support.  We are concerned that we find ourselves helping hundreds of thousands of people each year who come to a Trussell Trust foodbank simply because government departments make avoidable, preventable mistakes.”

Finally, we hope the Government will continue to support social enterprises in this budget, building on the work of the last parliament.  Further help could be given by incentivising the creation of social enterprise companies to offer skills training to help people out of hunger and poverty and back to work.  This is part of the long term solution for some. Our experience running community shops and a recycling centre in Salisbury has been that it can turn around lives and bring people back from crisis into security and prosperity.”

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