Barbara is worried about figures just published which show that people in the North West are increasingly relying on foodbanks to cope with unexpected bills or harsh benefit sanctions.
A report by the charity the Trussell Trust shows that 2% of people living in the North West have received 3 days emergency food supply from a Trussell Trust foodbank in the last 12 months. As other organisations also run foodbanks, this means the numbers using foodbanks in the region must be even higher than the 139,000 people in North West reported by the Trussell Trust.
The high percentage of people needing foodbanks in the North West is double the percentage in the South East region where Trussell Trust report only 1% of the population being referred to a foodbank. The main reason for people being referred to a Trussell Trust foodbank is when the increasingly harsh benefits sanctions regime leaves them unable to buy food but people struggling to manage on a low income is also a major factor.
“The sheer number of people being forced to rely on emergency food supplies is very worrying. I have noticed many more constituents coming to me for help after losing income due to harsh and often incorrect application of sanctions. It is shocking in the 21st century that so many people in our region have to rely on foodbanks.
“I have helped our local Trussell Trust volunteers collect for the foodbank in Little Hulton and I know that people in Salford are very generous with their donations. However, I feel it is time we decided that a rich country like the UK should not tolerate food poverty at all. Things have been getting much worse for the poorest in our society and we now need a Government prepared to tackle the problems which are leaving families hungry”
Barbara with volunteers at Tesco Walkden collecting donations for the Little Hulton Foodbank