Everyone should be able to afford the essentials. But here, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, hundreds of thousands of people in our communities are going without the essentials we all need.
Our latest research shows that food banks in our network have seen the highest level of need in a six-month period. Between April 2023 and September 2023, 1.5 million emergency food parcels were provided to people going without the essentials – including a record 540,000 parcels for children.
These alarming numbers lay bare a social security system that is not protecting people from going without the essentials, as most people at food banks are in receipt of Universal Credit.
There is a significant gap between people’s living costs and the basic rate of Universal Credit which is only £85 a week for a single adult – this rate isn’t calculated based on any assessment of what we need to afford the essentials. The shortfall this creates is forcing people to skip meals, switch off essential appliances and turn off their heating just to get by.
When people understand how many of us are going without the essentials, we know we can create change. With 72% of the UK public backing this policy, we simply cannot be ignored.
That's why we need your help to call on the UK government to introduce an Essentials Guarantee in our social security system so that, at a minimum, Universal Credit protects people from going without the essentials.
Together we can send a clear message to all MPs and ask for their support.
Please take action and email your MP now.