Bath Foodbank has seen a 38.9% rise in use over the past six-months when compared to the same time last year, with “changes to benefits” as the most common reason for using the service.
The increase was revealed when Wera Hobhouse, the MP for Bath, visited the charity on Manvers Street.
Wera Hobhouse said: “It’s quite clear to me that these changes in benefits refer to the roll out of Universal Credit.
“The fact that people are left waiting six weeks when transferring from the old system to the new one is essentially penalising people for being poor.
“That cash flow delay would be enough to put most families in serious financial trouble.”
Tim Harris, Chairman of Bath Foodbank Management Committee said: “We have been shocked by the increased need for the Foodbank this year.
“We are grateful for the generosity of the local community, whose gifts of food have enabled us to meet the increased demand, providing emergency food parcels to individuals and families in crisis.
“If you would like more information about the Foodbank including details of how you can help, please visit our website www.bath.foodbank.org.uk.”
Wera continued: “I was delighted to meet Tim and Grainne, and would like to thank the incredibly dedicated staff at Bath Foodbank. They do amazing work.
“We do have to ask the question though, why do we live in a society where it’s normal for people not to be able to afford to feed themselves?
“It’s because the benefits system is being mismanaged, it’s because wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, and it’s because there’s political apathy towards these problems at the heart of government.
“Foodbanks are not, in the words of Jacob Rees-Mogg, “rather uplifting”, but a symptom of the government’s failure to provide for its citizens.”
“If anyone is having serious problems with their benefits, I may be able to help. Give my office a call on 01225 307024, or e-mail me at [email protected].”