The cost of living is rising rapidly and increasing numbers of people are finding it impossible to cover their essential costs because their income is insufficient. A perfect storm is here and the future looks bleak with a further rise in fuel prices when the energy price cap rises again in October. People with money worries are turning to charity and being forced to take on debts. People need help now. The benefits system should reflect the true cost of living and ensure it keeps people from falling into hunger and poverty.
The Chancellor has so far failed to provide enough security for people on the very lowest incomes to weather the current storm. With every day of inaction, the food bank where I work prepares for more people to be forced through our doors. Other food banks in the Trussell Trust network and members of the Independent Food Aid Network and the Feeding Britain network are telling the same story. This is no longer about the cost of living - for many, this is about surviving.
The benefits system should reflect the true cost of living; instead it's leaving food banks to pick up the pieces. And yet for the first time ever, food banks in the Trussell Trust network provided more than 2.1 million food parcels to people across the UK outside of 2020/21, the height of the pandemic. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Food banks and other charitable food aid providers which are part of IFAN and the Feeding Britain network are seeing similar devastating increases.
More and more people are being put at risk of destitution, unable to afford the absolute essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm, dry, and clean. Food banks, food pantries and other food aid providers across the UK are working even harder just to keep families afloat as the essentials we all need in life are becoming increasingly out of reach and many food bank workers are feeling exhausted and over-stretched. This cannot be right.
Enough is enough.
Please sign this petition which calls on the UK Government to urgently increase benefit payments by at least 7% to keep pace with inflation. Longer term, it must introduce a commitment in the benefits system to make sure everyone has enough money in their pockets to prevent destitution.