Foodbank usage in Stoke-on-Trent has increased by 46% since Universal Credit was introduced.
Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove, cited the statistics which she says show the Government’s new Universal Credit system has led to a sharp rise in the demand at foodbanks in the city.
The Labour MP challenged Theresa May on her Government’s failure to tackle rising poverty after the introduction of Universal Credit.
Ms Smeeth, who slammed Stoke-on-Trent City Council for referring residents to foodbanks while refusing to provide funding for the service, has launched an appeal for people to donate to the foodbank closest to them in the run up to Christmas, as there is not enough supply for the high demand.
Foodbanks in the city have been utilised for many years, according to the Stoke-on-Trent Food Bank, “10,330 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis by Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank in 2016-17, and of those packages 3,913 went to children.”
Ruth Smeeth MP, said: “A third of children in Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove are living in poverty, and the Government’s chaotic welfare policies are tipping even more working families into financial hardship.
“Universal Credit should be pulled; it’s not working. We’ve got lots of people who are falling into debt because of the way Universal Credit pays.
“If you’re going to move people’s entitlements from weekly to monthly, then you need to help them with budgeting support.
“It’s about how the system’s working and it’s not working well enough. Rather than put money into the administration they need to actually put money into making Universal Credit work properly.”
This week, the travelling community have been donating large quantities of food to food banks up and down the UK as part of the #Foodbankchallenge.
Ms Smeeth added: “I am delighted that the travelling community is engaging in that way and obviously we have quite a sizeable community in this city so I think it is a wonderful way to feedback.
“Having said that, this is all sticking-plaster stuff, these aren’t dealing with the tangible issues underneath it. Universal Credit is meant to deal with the underlying causes of this level of poverty and it is failing to do so.”
The Trussell Trust have posted an image to their Facebook page to tell people how they can get involved with the hashtag challenge.
Wow! We’ve been overwhelmed by the support people have been giving to foodbanks through #FoodbankNomination – thank you…
Wow, yesterday we reported that the travelling community donated over a quarter of a tonne of food to the Foodbank,today…
The Christmas period can be tough for those who use food banks, if you are in Stoke-on-Trent, donations can be delivered to Stoke-on-Trent Food Bank Warehouse, Blurton Methodist Church, Magdalen Road, ST3 3HS or any supermarket with a foodbank donation box in store.
The warehouse is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. People can also support the project financially by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/