Jubilee+ Team
Hastings Foodbank 7th Anniversary

Yesterday was Hastings Foodbank's 7th anniversary, but this is not a cause for celebration, as Natalie Williams pointed out in an article for the Huffington Post. "We wish we had never been needed," she said. "It’s shocking that we were, and it’s shocking that we still are."

Not only are they still open, but they have been busier than ever since Universal Credit - and its controversial 5-week delay between submitting a claim and receiving money - was rolled out in the town.

"Universal Credit is designed to mimic work." Natalie explained, "That’s the argument behind the five-week wait. [However], the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) ... confirmed that an MP who was newly elected on 8 June in the 2017 snap election would have been paid at the next pay-day, which was 30 June 2017."

In other words, "Newly appointed MPs waited three weeks to get paid. Not five."

Natalie explained that "Jubilee+ supports the Trussell Trust’s #5weekstoolong campaign to reduce this wait, because we’re seeing its devastating impact on those struggling to make ends meet."

On top of this delay, she pointed out, the benefits freeze has just entered its fourth year, "at the same time as MPs gained a £2,089 annual pay rise".

And work isn't paying, either. Most people agree that work ought to be the best route out of poverty, providing dignity and a sense of self-worth alongside an income sufficient to meet their household's needs. Yet Natalie reported that many of the Hastings Foodbank users are in work, yet still can't make ends meet. One young woman in full-time employment "had to take ‘holiday’ from work because otherwise she would not have any food until her next pay day."

"We are told that if you just work hard enough, you’ll be ok." Natalie said, "Maybe that’s true for the powerful, but it simply isn’t true for the poorest at the moment. More and more working people are relying on foodbanks. More children with working parents are facing poverty anyway.

"Amber Rudd has said she wants to bring compassion back into the system. There’s a lot more to do before it can be claimed that has happened."

Read the full article on the Huffington Post website.