The head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing writes in the Guardian: “A year on from the introduction of the lower benefit cap, its abiding legacy is to push people closer to homelessness.
“The cap, introduced on 7 November 2016, reduced the total amount any family can receive in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital, leaving families with significant shortfalls between the benefits they get and the cost of their housing.
“In our most recent research we spoke to 18 families with capped benefit across the UK and each time we heard a familiar story – one of stress, struggle and a daily fight to remain in their home.
“Half of those families said they had gone without food, fuel or were otherwise in debt as a result of the cut. Among a raft of other hardships a third said they had been forced to use food banks.”
From Southwark News: Demand at foodbanks in the London Borough of Southwark has surged due to waits of up to three months for people starting on Universal Credit to get their first payments, it has been claimed.
More than 4,000 Southwark residents have joined the Universal Credit system since it was introduced at local Job Centres in early 2016. Labour councillor Fiona Colley said claimants have “dropped off a cliff” for periods of twelve to thirteen weeks, forcing them into rent arrears.
Universal Credit (UC) – which groups six types of benefit into one payment – was touted as the Conservative Party’s big hitting welfare reform after they came to power in 2010. Read more
From Political Scrapbook: Conservative MP George Freeman has found a new excuse for the explosion in demand for emergency food parcels since the Tories took power – apparently being unable to buy food is just part of modern life.
The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “The truth is things are tough. They have been tough in the last few years. Barry [Gardiner] may well try to say this is a Tory problem – foodbanks went up by 10 times under Tony Blair. It’s been part of modern living. The cost of living has gone up.” Read more
From The Independent: Conservative leadership favourite Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the growth of Food Bank Britain is “rather uplifting”, showing what a “good compassionate country we are”.
Tory MP tells hustings: “I’m really pleased we have foodbanks” then threatens to call police on angry disabled voter
From Evolve Politics: The Tory MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, is today at the centre of a row with constituents after she told a local hustings that she was “really pleased we have foodbanks” in the area, and then threatened to phone the police on an audience member who challenged her words.
The Conservative candidate had been speaking to voters at a hustings in the area when the comments were made.
Leah Browning, the South East Cornwall constituent who shot the video, said the audience member who challenged Tory MP Murray’s offensive remarks about foodbanks was disabled with a walking stick.
From Metro: A leading Tory was jeered by a TV audience after saying food bank users are not ‘languishing in poverty’ but merely had ‘cash flow problems.’
From The Independent: A bed-ridden stroke victim was told to use food banks after an administrative error left him and his wife facing extreme poverty.
From The Canary: Tracey Culham said using food banks is “the most degrading thing”, especially when “you’ve worked all your life”. Her intervention on national television is a glimpse of the reality for many under the Conservative austerity programme.
The Conservative government is directly responsible for pushing ordinary people into food poverty. The number of three-day food packages sent out by the Trussell Trust alone increased from 40,898 to 1,182,954 between 2010 and 2016-17. That’s a record-breaking increase of 2,792% since the Conservatives came to power.
But it’s worse than that. A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger estimates that over half the emergency food issued comes from organisations independent from the Trussell Trust’s figures. This means the real numbers are much higher.