Deeply concerning figures have been released by the Trussell Trust which show over a million people in the UK are now relying on food banks. I believe that in reality the number is likely to be much higher as the Trussell Trust has not included figures from community or church led food banks.
In my constituency, far too many people are struggling. Despite the Tories claiming that employment is up and the economy is recovering – no one I speak to is feeling any better off. Under the Tories, over five million people are now in low-paid jobs, earning less than the Living Wage, there are 1.8 million zero-hours contracts and people are £1,600 per year worse off.
One food bank in my constituency got 1,861 referrals alone from 2013-14 and I know they have already had 340 referrals from January to March this year. One volunteer said it is like going ‘back to the bad old days’ and that she had not seen anything like it since the closure of the mines in the Thatcher years.
Whilst it is inspiring to see the community come together and I have nothing but admiration for the volunteers, it is a tragedy of our times that people have to rely on food aid.
Labour will build an economy that works for everyone, not just the few at the top. We will start by scrapping the bedroom tax, freezing energy bills, banning exploitative zero-hours contracts and promoting the Living Wage.