Independent food banks are “running out of options” and may be unable to support people in need this winter as the Universal Credit cut kicks in and living expenses rise.
The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) said members are supporting “ever-increasing” numbers of people unable to afford food and this will worsen as the £20-a-week uplift is withdrawn.
The network, which represents more than 500 UK foodbanks and providers, has written to leaders of the four UK nations and to the chancellor, Work and Pensions secretary and other ministers calling for the cut to be halted.
A “devastating cut”
The letter, signed by IFAN coordinator Sabine Goodwin, reads:
The numbers of people needing emergency food aid will inevitably grow as a result.
On top of this devastating cut in people’s incomes, energy and food prices are rising sharply, increasing the need for emergency food support yet further.
A recent survey found that half of all Universal Credit claimants were living in food insecurity in May and June, with more than a quarter experiencing this severely.
“Running out of options”
Goodwin said foodbank teams have worked “tirelessly” through the coronavirus pandemic, with many now “exhausted”.
Volunteer numbers have dropped, as have public donations, they are struggling with food supply shortages and staff are already stretched to meet current demand.
She said members are now “running out of options” – just as a further surge in demand for emergency food aid has started.
As the winter approaches, there is a real danger that our member food banks will run out of options to support the people in need in their communities.
We fear that if immediate action is not taken to prioritise raising income levels across the UK, then more and more people will be faced with impossible choices over heating or eating and will fall into poverty and destitution.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?