Vale Foodbank manager backs call for inquiry into the causes of food poverty
9:01am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Penarth news
A SURGE in people using the foodbank service has resulted in the Trussell Trust calling for a public inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty.
Susan Lloyd-Selby, the Vale Foodbank manager, has backed the call for an inquiry and said that she had seen a noticeable increase in the amount of people using the foodbank in Dinas Powys, Penarth and across the Vale over the past few months.
“It reflects the situation we are in at the Vale Foodbank where we are seeing a month by month increase in the number of people using the service as they are falling into food poverty,” she said.
“All our bases in Dinas Powys, Barry and Llantwit Major have become busier since April this year.”
She added that one of the main reasons behind people being referred to the foodbank service was changes to their welfare benefits.
“They might be managing their bills reasonably well, but all it takes is for one bill to increase and they can’t cope with it,” she said.
Last month the Dinas Powys Foodbank, based at Bethesda Church, announced that it had supported 205 people, of whom 82 were children under 16, in its first year in operation.
The foodbank is an initiative of The Trussell Trust, a Christian-based organisation, committed to launching life-changing, community-based projects.
Earlier this week the Trussell Trust said that more than 32,500 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in Wales between April and September this year, almost triple the numbers helped in the same period last year. The Trussell Trust said that hunger in the UK and across Wales is getting worse and the charity is calling for a public inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the consequent surge in foodbank usage.
Chris Mould, executive chairman of The Trussell Trust, said: "We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to foodbanks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse. The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable. It’s scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people. The time has come for an official and in-depth inquiry into the causes of food poverty and the consequent rise in the usage of foodbanks. As a nation we need to accept that something is wrong and that we need to act now to stop UK hunger getting worse.”
The Trussell Trust is writing to David Cameron asking him to look into questions on food poverty recently raised by the Government’s poverty tsar Frank Field MP.
Evidence from Trussell Trust foodbanks shows that rising living costs and stagnant wages are forcing more people to live on a financial knife edge where any change in circumstance can plunge them into poverty. Even marginal shifts in prices when people don’t have elasticity in their personal finances can have a major impact. Food prices have risen by 12.6 per cent above inflation over the past six years and rising energy prices this winter are likely to see more people forced to choose between eating and heating. People at foodbanks have started giving back food items that need cooking because they can’t afford to turn on the electricity.