Spring Statement is a 'missed opportunity', says Trussell Trust

Photo: Ebbw Vale Foodbank

Christian food bank charity The Trussell Trust has said the Chancellor's Spring Statement will not end austerity as it called on the Government to make eradicating poverty and hunger in the UK a greater priority.

Philip Hammond told MPs today that the promise to end austerity would be impossible to keep if Britain crashes out of the EU in a no-deal Brexit. 

Speaking of a 'deal dividend', the Chancellor said a deal would ensure that there was money available to inject into public services and lowering tax rates. 

But The Trussell Trust, which operates over 1,200 food banks across the UK, said it was disappointed by the Spring Statement. 

The Trussell Trust's chief executive Emma Revie said it would not end austerity as promised but keep people in poverty. 

'The Chancellor has missed a real opportunity to do the right thing and give people on the lowest incomes financial support and certainty before Brexit,' she said. 

'Our benefits system was created to make sure proper support would be in place for each other when help was most needed. But right now, more and more people across Britain are struggling to make ends meet, unable to afford food and facing hunger as a result. This isn't right.' 

The Trussell Trust says it has seen record demand for its food banks, with a 13 per cent rise in the number of emergency food parcels handed out in the past year up to 1.3 million.  

Ms Revie said the key driver of demand for the food banks was incomes that are too low to cover the cost of essentials, with the majority of the recipients' incomes being benefits.

'By failing to end the benefits freeze and five week wait for Universal Credit, thousands more people will become trapped in poverty and may be forced to a food bank as a result,' she said.

'The Government needs to put money back into the pockets of people who have lost the most to austerity. Ending poverty and hunger in the UK shouldn't be sidelined – the time to act is now.'