Birmingham City Council’s decision to sign up to the Right to Food campaign has been hailed ‘a morale boost’ by Unite the union for the thousands in the city who rely on food banks.

Birmingham’s decision follows hard on the heels of a similar decision by Coventry City Council last week and comes as the government is about to scrap the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit which is due to end on 6 October.

However, the campaign has revealed the hard-faced attitudes of West Midland Tory councillors to struggling families – Coventry Tories voted against supporting the Right to Food campaign, while Birmingham’s Conservative councillors abstained.

Unite regional political officer Frank Keogh said “Unite warmly welcomes the decision of Birmingham City Council in supporting the Right to Food campaign – it is the humane thing to do and will be a morale booster for the thousands in the city who rely on food banks to put food on the table for their families.

“But what it does reveal is the hard-faced attitudes of Tory councillors in Birmingham and Coventry to some of the most disadvantaged in society which appears to be at odds with the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street who is reported to be ‘very concerned’ about the scrapping of the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift and is looking at ways to mitigate the impact of the £1,040 annual loss to people’s incomes.

“The Right to Food campaign is becoming more urgent and pressing as the £20-a-week uplift is due to end next month, which will cause more misery for people, many of them in work, as they desperately struggle to pay soaring household bills made worse by the latest jump in inflation to 3.2 per cent.” 

Unite has endorsed and promoted the Right to Food campaign and Frank Keogh said that Unite would continue to work with councils throughout the region to get the maximum sign-up for the campaign.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards. 


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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.