St Helens Council Leader, Labour’s David Baines, has given his backing to a campaign to address unfairness in the welfare system and the destructive nature of Universal Credit on many people.
Labour MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern has launched the #MakeEndsMeet campaign and has written to the Prime Minister and new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask them to consider the impact of their policies on some of the most vulnerable in society. David Baines has joined dozens of MPs and others in signing the letter and adding their support.
David says: “I‘m very proud to be a signatory to this letter. I’m so thankful that we have amazing people and volunteers like those at Hope Centre St Helens who are willing and able to give their time to run a foodbank and give support to those in need of it, but frankly it’s simply unacceptable that foodbanks are needed at all in our country today. And the role of Universal Credit in causing poverty and hardship cannot be overstated.
Thank you Alison McGovern for organising this campaign and calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the government, to help #makeendsmeet.”
The letter reads:
Dear Prime Minister and Chancellor,
Making Ends Meet: please give us a Budget to end the need for foodbanks
It is a basic minimum that everyone in our country should be able to feed themselves without needing emergency food parcels. But since 2010, foodbank use has grown in the UK. Demand is rising every year. According to the Trussell Trust, low income, benefit delays and changes are the main reasons people need emergency food. Often, households using foodbanks have only £50 a week after paying rent.
More than a third of emergency food parcels go to children and the Government should be doing more to help them and their families.
We want to see a credible plan to end the need for foodbanks in the Budget on 11 March 2020. Practical and affordable measures – such as the ones in my report – could make a real difference.
1. Removing the two-child limit in Universal Credit
2. Reducing the waiting time for Universal Credit
Longer-term labour market changes to ensure parents and carers are supported at work as well as improvements to our mental health system are also required but these two first steps are essential and could help thousands of people now.
The need for long-term change is not an excuse for standing by whilst the problem continues to get worse due to Government policy. The Budget on 11 March will be a test of whether the British people can trust the Government to change the country for the better. We urge the Government to use the Budget to help people make ends meet.