Unite, the county’s biggest union, branded news that food bank use has tripled in the space of a year as “the shame of our age” today (16 October), as it backed calls for a public inquiry into the rapid growth in food bank use from the Trussell Trust.
Figures released by the Trussell Trust, on World Food Day, show that demand for their services has rocketed since last year. As a result, the food bank network has called on the government to initiate an “inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the consequent surge in food bank usage”. Unite fully supports this call and demanded that government revoke their social security cuts.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner commented: "The growth in demand for food banks is the shame of our age. In the world’s seventh richest nation, where bankers can run up a nightly bar bill that vastly outstrips annual wages of a worker on minimum wage, people, both in and out of work, are forced to rely on food handouts.
“Instead of proclaiming a ‘recovery’, Cameron and Osborne should hang their heads in shame and agree to the Trussell Trust's demands for a national inquiry.
“As a first step to tackling this scandal, the government must urgently revoke their appalling social security policies, which are hammering those on low incomes, while delivering few savings for the nation.
“'Every time George Osborne says that he wants to ‘finish the job’, we know what he means - and that is the redistribution of this nation's wealth, away from pockets of ordinary people, to the bank vaults of the rich.
“We are heading into winter with hundreds of thousands of families lacking the money to feed themselves. This is heartbreaking for the families affected, so it is vital that support is on hand from the Trussell Trust and community unions, like Unite.
“Ultimately the cause of this food crisis lies with the government. Their policies are causing rank human misery, while ministers attempt to make us a divided nation and it must stop now.”
More information on Trussell Trust food bank usage numbers and the call for an inquiry.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.