Food bank near Truss and Kwarteng homes says local people need ‘torrent’ of help | Food banks | Catch My Job


A food bank serving London neighbors Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng has said it will struggle to survive this winter without an “outpouring of support” for families going hungry.

Greenwich foodbank said they have handed out 92,000 emergency meals to residents this year – which is already more than last year’s total – and they predict it will reach 130,000 by Christmas Day.

Demand for food is now so great in the borough that a new food bank is set to open just 500 meters from the £1m Georgian houses where the prime minister and chancellor are neighbours.

Jamie Ginns, chief executive of the Greenwich food bank, said it was facing “serious operational issues” this winter which would worsen if the Truss government refused to increase benefits in line with inflation.

He said: “For over a year now we’ve been hearing stuff in Greenwich about people choosing between heating and eating. I spoke to one man quite recently who had to cook entirely off a camping gas stove in his kitchen.

“Even the phrase trickle down economics: people don’t need a trickle, they need a flood of support, times are that tough.”

Ginns said there were “pockets of real poverty” in the streets around the smart Georgian terraces where Truss and Kwarteng live, part of the so-called Greenwich Gang, which includes the former Brexit secretary in favor of Truss David Frost and foreign secretary James Cleverly.

A survey of 64 food banks across Britain, carried out by donation platform Bankuet, found that almost all are facing increasing demand at a time when donations are falling.

Three in four of those surveyed said they were busier or as busy now as they were at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and 47% said they had already handed out “cold packs” to people who could not afford to use gas or electricity. to heat food. All demand is expected to increase further this winter.

Greenwich food bank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network, said it distributes 4.5 tonnes of food a week – equivalent to the weight of two and a half average-sized cars. The drop in donations meant he had to tap into his reserves to pay for a ton’s worth of essentials each week.

Ginns said it would be “absurd” if the Truss government refused to increase benefits in line with inflation. Ministers are said to be drawing up plans for real-terms cuts to benefits, saving £5bn by increasing them in line with earnings, rather than inflation.

Truss on Sunday declined to say whether benefits would be increased in line with inflation, which was recorded at 10% in August. During a BBC interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Truss said the work and pensions secretary, Chloe Smith, was “looking into” the matter.

“She’ll make a decision on that and we’ll announce that this fall,” Truss said, adding, “I’m not going to write future budgets on your show.”

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, one in five low-income households in Scotland went cold and hungry at the same time this year, even before the winter months set in.

His latest report Poverty in Scotland highlighted the vulnerability of people’s finances and the impact of growing worries about the future on mental health.

A third of all those questioned said they have either no savings or savings of less than £250, while single parents are more than twice as likely to have little or no personal safety net.

The report also found that going without essentials – including food, heat or clothing – is already endemic. Almost two in three (65%) have cut back on one essential while one in four (26%) have cut back on three or more essentials.

Jacqueline James, who runs a market and food pantry as part of the charity Southampton City Mission, said she has already distributed more food this year than in the whole of 2021.

He added: “A cut in real terms to benefits would make the problem worse. People are already at a critical point of not having enough to cover costs as it is.

“We are quite concerned as food and money are going down, especially food donations, as demand increases. We’ve been doing food banks for 20 plus years and our warehouse has never been this empty.”

Rebecca Hargreaves, project co-ordinator for the charity Feedo Needo, which operates in Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford, said she was already having to deliver smaller emergency parcels.

He said: “Everyone is worried that their bills will go up and that reality will soon hit. If benefits don’t rise as usual things are only going to get worse. We see people with mental health problems that are exacerbated by the stress of avoidable living costs.”

Robin Ferris, chief executive of Bankuet, said charities were “ringing the alarm” as winter closed in and donations were desperately needed.

“Government trickle down economics is an inadequate response to the cost of living crisis facing millions. Food banks are seeing unprecedented levels of demand and they need our help to get through the winter,” Ferris said.


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