Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has said that the Government must take responsibility for the stark rise in foodbank use after new figures from the Trussell Trust revealed a 13% increase for 2017/2018 from the previous year. In total, the Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed over 1.3 million three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. Cambridge City Foodbank has stated that they distributed 2,991 packages, feeding 6,904 people, an increase of 25% from the year prior.
Mr Zeichner says: “The figures today tell a story of continuing misery and suffering for too many people. I have no doubt that the underlying cause of this increase are the callous welfare policies being pursued by the Government. It then falls to the generosity of ordinary people and organisations like the Cambridge City Foodbank to provide help to those going hungry.”
“I am very concerned by the figures from Cambridge, which are showing an even higher increase than the national average -; a rise of 25%. Sadly, we may see those figures rise even further in the next year once we see Universal Credit rolled out this Autumn as the analysis shows that changes in benefits is one of the primary reasons for people needing a three day emergency food package.”
The new analysis has highlighted that changes in the benefit system and benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials is causing the increase in foodbank use. A primary reason for people being referred were benefit delays accounting for 24%, with benefit changes causing 18%. The charity Trussell Trust is calling for benefits to be reviewed and uplifted with inflation to ensure that they reflect the cost of living.
Coinciding with today’s new data, Cambridge City Foodbank have announced they will be opening Fairbite; a new food club to supply food that would otherwise go to waste to local people struggling to feed themselves. The food club will be located in North Cambridge’s Arbury Court and people will be able to collect food for free once they pay a small membership. Fairbite is set to open in June 2018.