George Osborne said the economic recovery was well underway on Thursday when he delivered his autumn statement in parliament, but food poverty charity the Trussell Trust has argued that the “recovery is not filtering down”.
The charity, which provides support to more than 400 food banks across the UK, says that the poorest in society are facing a tough Christmas amid the rising cost of food and energy.
George Osborne said in his autumn statement, “Thanks to the sacrifice and endeavour of the British people, I can today report the hard evidence that shows our economic plan is working.”
But some question just how much of a sacrifice the poorest in society are having to make.
Chris Mould, executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, said, “We’re glad that the economy appears to have turned a corner, but we can’t ignore the reality for millions of British citizens who are facing a tougher winter than ever.
“Real wages are down, the cost of food is rising rapidly and so is the cost of heating your home. Recovery is not filtering down. Low-income families are teetering on a financial knife-edge. Today numbers given three days’ emergency food by Trussell Trust food banks since April topped 500,000.”
He added, “Public support for this week’s petition by Jack Monroe asking for UK hunger to be debated in parliament has been phenomenal. It proves that ordinary people are deeply concerned about the distressing poverty they’re seeing in their communities.”
The Trussell Trust has been one of the key players in advocating on issues of food poverty. Back in October, the charity called upon the government to launch an urgent inquiry on “scandalous” levels of food poverty.
Labour recently announced an opposition day debate on food banks and UK hunger, which is due to take place on December 18, a move which Mould welcomes.