Theresa May will be getting a rather special delivery on Tuesday 21 November. But it’s not one she’s going to like, as it will highlight the growing chaos she and her government are presiding over.
A bold statement
Anti-austerity campaign organisation the People’s Assembly will be delivering tons of food outside Downing Street the day before Philip Hammond releases the Autumn budget. It is making a statement about the controversial rollout of Universal Credit, which the People’s Assembly says will “force thousands more to rely on food banks this winter”.
The delivery will coincide with the People’s Assembly’s national day of action called “Sack the Tories”, which will see local groups around the country protesting and also collecting donations for food banks. The delivery outside Downing Street will culminate in a protest that evening. Afterwards, the food will be sent on to a Trussell Trust distribution centre.
The food bank delivery is funded by sales of band Captain Ska’s top-five hit Liar Liar. The group will also be releasing a Christmas single this year. The money from its sales will be going to food banks.
Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon is supporting the People’s Assembly. He said in a video:
Just look at how the government are treating people on Universal Credit and look at how they are letting their rich mates off the hook when it comes to paying their fair share of tax… The message is simple… Enough is enough. Austerity has to end. We need an alternative.
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But the People’s Assembly has a damning point to make with the delivery and demonstration. Because in September, the Trussell Trust warned that the rollout of Universal Credit would leave it “struggling to cope” with demand. And then, as The Canary recently reported, its prediction came true. It has now reported a surge in food bank referrals. And it placed the blame for this at Universal Credit’s door.
Soaring food bank demand
The Trussell Trust found that “food banks in areas of full [Universal Credit] roll out for six months or more have seen a 30% average increase six months after roll out compared to a year before”. And it also said that “issues with a benefit payment remain the biggest [43%] cause of referral to a food bank across the UK”. And Trussell Trust analysis shows that Universal Credit accounted for:
- 45% of referrals made, because of a wait for a first payment.
- 36% of referrals made, because a new claim had not yet been awarded.
- 38% of referrals made, due to a change to a different benefit.
Furthermore, the Trussell Trust said 27% of referrals to them came from people on low incomes.
Then, on 16 November, the Peabody Trust forecast that around 60,000 households, with more than 40,000 children, will get no money before Christmas, due to the six-week waiting time for Universal Credit payments.
May’s wilful ignorance?
It seems that not a day goes by without another Universal Credit horror story or damning set of statistics. So far, the government has been unwilling to budge on the issue. But with the People’s Assembly making such a bold statement right outside May’s door – how long can she keep ignoring this growing crisis?
– Write to your MP, asking them to scrap Universal Credit.
– Support People’s Assembly’s day of action.
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