Food bank charity launches General Election Manifesto, setting out actions for the next government to eliminate poverty

‘It is not right that anyone should need to use a food bank because they can’t afford to eat and pay bills. However, food bank need is at an historic high.’

On May 15, the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank charity and a leading voice on poverty and hunger, released its annual figures. In the last year, 3.1 million food parcels were distributed by their network, the most parcels the network has ever distributed in a single year. It is also a 94 percent increase in the total number of parcels distributed compared to five years ago.

Facing historic food bank need in 2024, the charity says this long-term pattern needs to change and is urging for urgent reform to Britain’s social security system. 

In its General Election Manifesto, the Trussell Trust is calling on all political parties to commit to building a future where no one needs a food bank to survive. The charity asks for an Essential Guarantee into Universal credit to be introduced, that would protect people from going without essentials, such as food and bills. They urge for debt deductions from social security payments to be more affordable, and for there to be a long-term strategy and funding for local crisis support.

The Manifesto asks for the government to guarantee that people on low incomes can afford credit and advice on money affairs, as well as swift and accurate decisions about disability social security support. They are also calling for the two-child welfare benefits limit to be scrapped and for new workers’ rights legislation to be introduced to ensure new rights to job security, effective enforcement of existing rights, predictable working hours, and flexible working from day one.

The food bank network is calling on the next government to invest in building 900,000 new social homes every year in England to provide the dignity of a safe, secure, and affordable place to live, and for communities to be empowered by commodities that build connections, including places, spaces and public transport.

Saying the next government will be judged on whether it rises to meet the level and depth of poverty in Britain today, the charity is calling on all party leaders to commit to building a future where no one needs a food bank, “because we have a social security system that is fit for purpose, with cross-government action to ensure everyone has enough for the essentials.”

“This general election comes at a time when we are facing a generational challenge of hunger in the UK. Hardship is at record highs, the food banks risk becoming a ‘new normal’ in communities the length and breadth of the UK/ This is damaging our health, harming the prospects of young people, and holding back our economy,” concludes the Trussell Trust’s Manifesto.

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