Letter to the Echo on Food Banks

September 5, 2013 3:27 PM

Jenny Willott supports Fare Share

Dear Sir,

Yesterday you published an article on the rise in the number of people using food banks over the past year.

I agree that it is worrying that people in Cardiff should have to rely on such organisations. However the use of food banks is not a new phenomenon, as food banks have unfortunately been on the increase over the last eight years. Cardiff Food bank was opened back in April 2009.

Labour, when in government, sought to artificially lower figures by banning staff at Jobcentres from referring people directly to food banks. This meant that many thousands of people entitled to benefits were not referred directly. I'm pleased that the Coalition Government has changed the rules so that Jobcentre advisors can now refer claimants, who need additional help, directly to food banks. The Trussell Trust, the director of which you quote in your article, has strongly supported this change. He said that this greater awareness has helped explain their recent growth.

We have a systemic problem that needs to be tackled, of which food banks are merely a symptom. Despite progress in tackling child poverty by the last government, by the time Labour left office it was still the case that more than half of the children living in poverty lived in a household with at least one working adult.

The Liberal Democrats are taking action in government to help people in difficult situations by cutting the amount of income tax they pay. This means that more of their money stays in their pocket. Already more than 2.7 million of the lowest earners have been lifted out of paying income tax altogether, and a further 24m people have received a £600 tax cut.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Willott

MP for Cardiff Central

What would you like to do next?