U.K.’s biggest food bank network says Universal Credit repayments are forcing people into using them
The Trussell Trust, which is the broadest food bank network and charity in the U.K., has called on the government to freeze Universal Credit repayments until (a) vaccine(s) have been rolled out in the U.K., according to the Guardian.
It says that half of households visiting its food banks were struggling to afford supplies because of monthly deductions applied by the government, and says that expecting those repayments while they either cause, or exacerbate, the need to use a food bank is unreasonable. Per chief executive Emma Revie in the Guardian:
“Our welfare system should increase people’s security, not suffering. But right now the government is taking money from the benefit payments of many people using food banks ... Taking money off payments to repay these debts makes it much harder for people to afford the essentials and can impact on people’s mental health – this isn’t OK.”
The novel coronavirus pandemic has seriously aggravated already stark food inequality in the U.K., stemming from political austerity introduced by the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010. Another food bank network, Feeding Britain, reported thousands of “newly hungry” users in early November; data in May showed that uptake had tripled across the country and nearly quadrupled in London. While the government bills the Universal Credit system as a support mechanism for those unemployed or on low incomes, its own repayment mechanisms are, according to the Trussell Trust, destabilising people instead. [Guardian]
And in other news...
- The debate over Scotch eggs and substantial meals: both moderately funny silliness and a signal example of the pitfalls of responding to a pandemic reactively.
- The government report into coronavirus transmission in hospitality points to government-mandated restrictions being the reason it’s “not happening in hospitality,” so why didn’t it present it that way?
- With tier two coronavirus restrictions active from tomorrow, 2 December, here’s a reminder of what you can and can’t do in a restaurant or pub.
- A report into food delivery apps, high commission, and the alternatives. [Financial Times]
- 1970s scene playground Langan’s will relaunch as a luxurious French brasserie in 2021. [Hot Dinners]
- Good Cook, Eat, Repeat, tweet:
Alan Bennett's Talking Heads: "Anchovies" (2020) performed by @Nigella_Lawson pic.twitter.com/gZnsvCaPW3— John Lister (@johnlister) November 30, 2020