As food bank use across London surged over the summer, because of the “shambolic” introduction of Universal Credit, figures released this week show that there were 1,759 three-day emergency food supplies given out in Croydon in that six-month period.
The figures, from the Trussell Trust and covering April to September, show that in Croydon, 573 of these were emergency supplies were provided to children.
London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross has responded to the shocking figures by calling on the Government to “stick to their pledge and put an end to austerity”.
The Trussell Trust attributed the increase in food bank referrals to low incomes and benefit levels being insufficient to keep up with basic living costs. The charity has also cited Universal Credit payment delays as another significant driver of food poverty.
Universal Credit began to be rolled out for new claimants in Croydon in November 2015, one of the first areas in the country to trial the flawed system.
In August, the Mayor of London called for the Government to pause the rollout of Universal Credit to ensure problems with late payments and other long-standing issues with the benefits system can be fully resolved.
The release of the data coincides with the launch of a two-week investigation by the United Nations into the rising levels of poverty in Britain.
Twycross, who lives in the borough, told Inside Croydon: “It is alarming to see such a significant increase in the number of families and children being forced to depend upon emergency food supplies. The fact that food banks are becoming normalised in our society should seriously concern us all.
“Food poverty is a complex issue, but as the Trussell Trust have identified, there are certain key drivers behind it and these must be addressed without delay.
“These shocking figures should send a powerful message to the Government that they need to urgently reverse the damage done by austerity, lift people out of low pay and slam the brakes on the roll-out of Universal Credit.”
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