To ask His Majesty’s Government, given the increased use of food banks, what assessment they have made of ways of reducing dependence on the charitable sector for the provision of food
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con) replied for HMG:
My Lords, food banks are an example of the generosity of spirt of giving across communities in Britain. This Government are committed to understanding and addressing poverty. Last week, for the first time, we published official estimates of food bank use. This April, we are increasing benefits and benefit cap levels by 10.1% and making further cost of living payments. The Government have provided total support of more than £94 billion over 2022-23 and 2023-24.
I went on to ask:
One of the real concerns about the increase in the use of food banks—which has gone up phenomenally, by a third in the last year—is that they are being used more by the working poor: people in full-time employment who still cannot afford to feed their families and heat their homes. Is it not time for the Government to be even more creative than they have been already and perhaps introduce a wealth tax of 1% on the richest, so there can be pay rises for the poorest workers?
Viscount Younger of Leckie replied for HMG:
Well, it is helpful to have some innovative solutions from the noble Baroness, but she will know of the huge amount of support that we have given, of which the House is very aware. There are other measures as well: for example, the Government will provide £100 million of support for charities and community organisations in England. This will be targeted towards those organisations most at risk due to the increased demand from vulnerable groups, and targeted in particular to support critical front-line services.
Read the whole debate here: Charitable Sector: Food Provision – Hansard – UK Parliament