What would a just and compassionate welfare state look like?

As a nation we believe in justice, compassion and the power to change our society for the better. Our shared belief in justice demands that we fight to ensure that everyone has access to a basic standard of living. Having enough money to put a roof over your head, and feed and care for your family is the very minimum that everyone should have. But for many this isn’t the case.

Trussell Trust Food Bank LogoThe Trussell Trust are an anti-poverty charity that supports a UK-wide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

The majority of people referred to food banks are on benefits, and most come to need a food bank due to an issue with their benefits, like a benefit change, delay, sanction, or simply because their benefit income doesn’t cover their basic costs.

In our recent research on Universal Credit we found how the built-in five week wait for the first Universal Credit payment led to destitution, housing insecurity (including homelessness) and indebtedness. One man with severe mental health issues had no income at all during this time, and the ensuing debt and rent arrears had such a negative effect on his mental health that he felt unable to seek support.  He went for nine days without eating. Waiting for five weeks for the first payment is the government’s intended design, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The Government’s first priority must be to end the five week wait. It’s #5WeeksTooLong.

#FiveWeeksTooLong Five weeks too long twitter campaign logo

No-one should need a food bank in our society, but we know that hundreds of thousands of people face turning to emergency food every year. A decent welfare safety net should be the government’s first priority, and we know tinkering around the edges won’t lead to the fair and just society we want. That’s why, at this year’s Labour Party conference we will be discussing what a well-functioning and compassionate welfare state would look like. We’ll be guided by the Shadow Minister for Disabled People: Marsha de Cordova MP, as well as hearing from a food bank manager working on the frontline of hunger and poverty in the UK.

 

We need to stem the tide of food bank use in this country and make sure no-one is left with not enough money to afford food – find out more about our work at www.trusselltrust.org.

 

Marsha de Cordova MP, Shadow Minister for Disabled People

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published this page in Articles 2019-09-10 12:58:42 +0100