A Lewisham food bank has called on the Government to help people struggling to afford food due to the rising cost of living.
New figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics show that inflation is the highest it has been in 30 years, reaching seven per cent in March.
More than 550 independent food banks have signed a letter to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, written by The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), urging the Government to increase benefits payments in line with the new inflation figures.
The Legendary Community Club in Lewisham is one of the many food banks which has signed the letter addressed to the Prime Minister and Chancellor.
According to Alexandra McMillan, the founder and CEO of the Legendary Community Club, the group has already seen an increase in the number of people they support – and this is likely to continue rising.
Alexandra said: “We’re expecting huge increases in the need for our services, and we are already struggling to get food to keep up with demand.
“Funding is lessening, we are overstretched, underfunded, and the pressure is relentless.
“We are at breaking point.”
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a charity which conducts and funds research aimed at solving poverty in the UK, and it says this rise in inflation will amount to the biggest cut to benefits in real terms for fifty years.
Chris Birt, Associate Director at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Our social security system is designed to deliver financial support to people who need it most; the Chancellor has simply refused to use it.
“His failure to recognise the seriousness of the situation will lead to more people being sucked into the kind of grinding daily hardship that is very difficult to escape.”
Chris also said he was concerned that the rapidly growing price of food, clothing, transport, and energy would leave people in “increasingly desperate situations.”
He added: “We hear of people unable to cook the food they rely on from food banks as they cannot afford to switch on the oven or hob.
“These terrible situations are not inevitable.”
As well as an eight per cent increase to benefits payments, the letter also asks for the five-week wait for University Credit to be removed and crisis payments to be made in cash for those who are seriously struggling.
Have you got a story for us? You can contact us here.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.
Sign up to our newsletters to get updates sent straight to your inbox.