Jamie Reed, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Copeland, has visited North Lakes Food bank to speak with service users and Foodbank volunteers about their experiences. The areas with the highest levels of child poverty are the areas with the highest level of Foodbank use. In Sandwith, more than 1 in 10 rely on foodbanks.
Jamie Reed, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Copeland, said:
“The number of people on zero hours contracts is up by a quarter in the North West and the number of people relying on Foodbanks in Copeland is up by a third. David Cameron continues to ignore Foodbank use – he believes usage is growing because the charity is being more widely advertised – and this is demonstrates a real ignorance of the challenges facing the people of our country and our community.
“People are only able to access Foodbanks if they are identified as being in need by a care professional such as a doctor, social worker, community nurse or even the police. Parcels only last for a maximum of three days at a time and people are unable to use Foodbanks unless they are given a voucher from a care professional who verifies their need.
“The policies of the Tory government have seen Foodbank use soar in Copeland. Volunteers tell me that the bedroom tax and the increasing use of zero hours contracts have caused a spike in demand which has never gone away and that they are now helping more people than ever before.I’ve been told of parents starving themselves so that they can feed their children and Foodbank volunteers are now working with the local NHS after health professionals reported cases of malnutrition.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed by the Foodbanks and their volunteers, co-ordinators and users. There are plenty of examples of people using food banks to get back on their feet only to then donate money and food to the food banks once their situation improves. That’s inspirational and an example to us all – it also reminds us of our responsibilities to each other.
“But we have to create a society where the need for Foodbanks doesn’t exist, where work pays, where families are secure in work and parents are able to realise their ambitions for themselves and their children.
“Only Labour is prepared to introduce the necessary measures to bring this about; by abolishing the bedroom tax and exploitative zero-hours contracts, by raising the minimum wage and by clamping down on tax evasion. In addition, Labour’s plans for a lower 10p starting rate of tax will see 34,000 working families in Copeland better off.
“David Cameron isn’t interested in the ambitions of our community, his policies have made life knowingly difficult for too many people in Copeland. A Labour government will change this for the better.”