Rise in foodbank use a result of Government’s “callous agenda of austerity” – Florence Eshalomi AM

Reliance on foodbanks in Lambeth and Southwark has risen over the last year, analysis of data obtained from the Trussell Trust shows. The number of three-day emergency food parcels distributed in Lambeth and Southwark continued to rise.

Local London Assembly Member, Florence Eshalomi AM, said dependence on foodbanks was the result of the Government’s “callous agenda of austerity” and its “sheer disregard” for vulnerable people in Lambeth and Southwark.

Data from the Trussell Trust shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, the charity distributed almost 20,000 three-day emergency food parcels across Lambeth and Southwark.  

7380 of thesewere provided specifically for children.

Across London, 134,244 parcels were given out over the same period, marking a 21% increase on the previous year. Last month, the Mayor launched his draft London Food Strategy and pledged to work closely with local authorities to prevent Londoners from being swept into food poverty.

The Trussell Trust have cited the top four drivers behind foodbank usage as ‘low income- benefits, not earning’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’. Other reasons include homelessness, ill-health and domestic abuse.

A Trussell Trust report has identified the roll out of Universal Credit as a key factor in the increased reliance on foodbanks, honing in on the experience of claimants who have been left to struggle when waiting several weeks for their first payment. This analysis was backed up by a new Joseph Rowntree Foundation report which cited the roll out as a significant contributor to destitution.

Universal Credit has been rolled out in Lambeth since October 2016 and November 2015 in Southwark.

Local London Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi said:

“We live in one of the world’s wealthiest countries with a welfare state that is supposed to protect people from destitution. It is shameful that an increasing number of people are forced to rely on foodbanks.

“This rise in foodbank use is a direct result of the Government’s callous agenda of austerity and its sheer disregard for vulnerable people in Lambeth and Southwark. I visited the Pecan foodbank in Southwark earlier this year and saw what a lifeline it has become for so many families.

“Growing inequality and poverty is seeing independent foodbanks popping up across the capital to meet increasing demand.

“The Government should waste no time in doing all that it can to reverse this crisis blighting local families.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

– The number of three-day emergency food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust in Lambeth rose by 28% and by 6% in Southwark;

-The latest data analysis of stats obtained from the Trussell Trust shows that between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, the charity distributed15,103three-day emergency food parcels in Lambeth and 4,227 in Southwark

5,743of thesewere provided specifically for children in Lambeth and 1,637 in Southwark, respectively;

– In London as a whole, 134,244 parcels were given out in this period, marking a 21% increase on the previous year;

– The Mayor of London’s draft London Food Strategy can be read here, and the consultation is open until 5th July 2018;

– The Trussell Trust have cited the top four drivers behind foodbank usage as ‘low income- benefits, not earning’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’. Other reasons include homelessness, ill-health and domestic abuse;

-The Trussell Trust report linking foodbank usage to Universal Credit can be read here;

-The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report linking destitution to Universal Credit can be found here;

-A map of independent foodbanks in London can be found on the Independent Food Aid Network here;

-Florence Eshalomi is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark