“Since becoming Shadow Minister for London something I have seen more and more every day is the growing importance of, and reliance upon charities and the voluntary sector. My visits to food banks across London have been bittersweet. It’s been inspirational to see Londoners giving their time, donating food and money to help others in our community who have fallen on hard times. But it is also incredibly sad. We live in one of the richest cities in the world and yet there are still thousands of Londoners, many of whom are children, who can’t afford to eat.
“Nearly half of those using food banks have come as a result of changes or delays to benefit payments, including sanctions and the impact of the bedroom tax. Low income and debt are the next major causes of people needing help, and we’re seeing working families whose food budget is squeezed by low wages and rising costs.
“Despite the Trussell Trust and the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom reporting problems with social security as the single biggest overall trigger for food bank use, today’s vote evidences the government’s point blank refusal to take any action. Instead of hiding behind the Tory myth, that says the increase in food banks is driving demand - an insult to many Londoners who have skipped meals to ensure their children don’t go hungry - it’s time that the government got a grip and took the issue seriously.”
“For our part, the next Labour Government will tackle the cost-of-living crisis. From freezing energy prices and reforming the broken energy market, to taking action to end the abuse of zero hours contracts, abolishing the bedroom tax, and introducing a compulsory jobs guarantee to get young people and the long-term unemployed off benefits and into paid work, we’ll ensure that food bank use is a thing of the past.”