1 May 2015
Green Party campaigners set up a Foodbank outside Iain Duncan Smith’s home in Swanbourne, Bucks today. They were there to highlight the huge increase in the use of Foodbanks due to the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition policies. Iain Duncan Smith is the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and it is his department’s cuts that have forced more people into dependency on Foodbanks.
Alan Francis, the Green Party candidate for the Buckingham constituency, said:
“Government cuts over the last 5 years have thrown millions into poverty. 13 million people now live below the poverty line. The Trussel Trust reported this week that use of its Foodbanks had gone up from 40,000 in 2009 to 1,000,000 in 2014 and 100,000 of those are in the affluent South East.”
The Coalition has cut and capped many benefits, scrapped Council Tax benefit and introduced the Bedroom Tax. These cuts have affected disabled people, working families and the unemployed. About one third of those helped with food parcels were children. Meanwhile the government reduced the top rate of tax for the wealthy and reduced corporation tax.
The only Trussel Trust foodbank in Bucks in Chesham gave out over 2000 emergency food parcels last year. The Milton Keynes Foodbank, which also covers some of North Bucks, gave out over 14,000 food parcels last year and is reporting a 45% increase in demand this year. The main reasons people use foodbanks include administrative delays in paying benefits, low incomes and benefits cuts and sanctions.
Alan Francis continued:
“Foodbanks do an excellent job in helping people who are in desperate need. But the UK is the 6th wealthiest country in the world and we really should not be having huge numbers of our citizens dependent upon charity just to stay alive.
It was the bankers and politicians who caused the recession in 2008. The Conservatives are making the most vulnerable members of society pay the price for the mistakes of others. And if the Tories are re-elected they intend to cut another £12bn from welfare benefits but have refused to say which benefits would be cut until after the election. Documents leaked this week indicate that child benefits would be amongst those to be cut.
Under the Tories the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The gap between rich and poor, which was gradually closing until 1980, is getting ever wider. Such inequality is bad for society.
The Green Party wants a more equal society where everyone can afford to live. We would scrap the hated Bedroom tax, end the austerity cuts, increase child benefits, introduce a living wage for all workers, end zero-hours contracts, build more council houses, improve bus and rail services and cut fares.”
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