Bill Esterson fears Trussell Trust's reports that number of peop

Bill Esterson

 

The Trussell Trust has this week reported that the number of people needing emergency food handouts is rocketing - but Labour MP Bill Esterson fears "this is only the tip of the iceberg".

The organisation that runs foodbanks up and down the country, said almost 350,000 people, including 126,000 children, have received at least three days' meals from foodbanks in the past 12 months.

People are struggling to make ends meet because of the raft of welfare reforms which the government forced through earlier this month.

But Bill Esterson fears the figure is a lot higher because churches, like many in Sefton Central, are also setting up independent foodbanks to help needy parishioners.

Bill said: "I have seen more and more people coming to my office looking for help.

"They are finding themselves, and their families, going hungry, either because of unemployment, or increasingly, because of the welfare cuts imposed by this government at the start of April.

"People are finding that their household income isn't covering their basic living costs. I have spoken to people who have cut their household costs right down, leaving just the very bare necessities, but still they can't make ends meet. 

"These are people of all backgrounds, families, pensioners, the disabled, all struggling to put food on the table.

"They are turning to my office in desperation trying to find somewhere where they can get help.

"We've seen a huge upturn in the number of people in these kinds of difficulties. And it is down to the appalling way this Tory-Lib Dem Government is treating people and how they are failing to make the economy work for the working people in this country."

Bill said while the Trussel Trust figures make depressing reading, his fear is that it is far worse.

Bill said: "Trussell Trust say there has seen a 170% rise in the number of people turning to foodbanks. That number is 100,000 higher than anticipated.

"That in itself is a very concerning wake up call to us all, and in particular the Tories and Lib Dems in government, that people are hurting.

"People in Crosby and Blundellsands, Formby and Hightown, Maghull, Aintree, Lydiate, Melling, Lunt, Ince Blundell, all areas where you wouldn't traditionally expect people to need help to put food on the table are finding themselves in exactly that position.

"That is why I applaud the churches who are taking a lead, together with the local community groups, individuals and local councillors who are working to make sure that there is somewhere for people to turn when they need help.

"This is a return to the dark days of Dickensian Britain. It is something which I never thought I would ever see. But we are living through it.

"These are our neighbours, our friends, the people in our streets and communities.

"It is only through the generosity of the people here in Sefton Central that our foodbanks here are able to help."

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