Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has expressed his dismay at a new report showing foodbank usage in Northern Ireland remains high.
The Trussell Trust charity published the report, entitled Left Behind: Is Universal Credit Truly Universal, today. It showed their foodbanks gave out 32,433 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis between April 2017 and March 2018.
While it represents a one per cent decrease locally on the previous year, during the same period UK-wide the charity distributed 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.
“The Trussell Trust have always had my support in the work they do alleviating hunger in our communities. But while the service they provide is an invaluable lifeline to families, the reality is more must be done to tackle the causes of food poverty,” said Mr Dickson.
“It sadly appears UK Government actions are only contributing to food crises, with the adverse impact of the initial wait for benefits, the lack of available statutory support, the inability of Universal Credit payments to cover the cost of living for people who most need it and poor administration all avoidable, yet there is a failure to recognise these problems.
“Pushing people further into poverty is not only nonsensical and immoral, it ends up costing the Government more money due to the further social issues that result. It’s time the Government reset benefit payments at a sustainable level so claimants can live with dignity and stability.”