I applaud the work of dedicated volunteers who staff food banks. But I am ashamed that our country should need such things.
In Ryedale, over 1,000 three-day emergency food supplies have been given to local people in 2016-17. The biggest reason for needing food is reported as benefit delay. Universal Credit is being slowly rolled out in piecemeal fashion, but is causing new problems. Not far behind is the next biggest reason, food for people who work but don’t have enough income to live.
There is something badly wrong when people can be in work but can’t survive. Not only do they need state benefits, but even then they do not have enough to eat. When workers need this level of support, businesses are being subsidised by both the state and by charities.
The Green Party is very supportive of local businesses. But all businesses need to pay their staff enough to live. Otherwise, they are simply not viable businesses.
When it comes to benefits, we all hope to have good health and good jobs. But disaster can strike anyone, and a decent society makes provision for people who suffer misfortune.
Much as I admire the work of food banks, I would far rather there was no need for them to exist.