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                  IFAN's letter to our new                    Prime Minister


 

 As the UK poverty crisis has escalated, the charitable food aid sector has been pushed past breaking point. Our new Government has a once in a generation opportunity to reverse the tide of poverty that has swept across the country over the last fourteen years. 


This letter to our new Prime Minister, signed by IFAN's membership, calls for immediate actions to reduce food insecurity and poverty

through a cash first approach.

 

Millions of people across the UK cannot wait any longer. 

5th of July 2024

 

Dear Prime Minister

 

No one should have to turn to charity to be able to eat. Yet, over more than a decade, increasing numbers of people have been pushed to the doors of independent food banks and other food aid providers because they haven’t got enough money to afford food.

 

As the UK poverty crisis has escalated, the charitable food aid sector has been pushed past breaking point. Recent data from the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) has consistently found that food bank teams are being overstretched and overwhelmed by rising demand.

 

Food banks and other food aid services are being asked to do the impossible as they do their utmost to support growing numbers of people unable to afford food. These include both people in work whose wages are not enough to cover the cost of living as well as people who are already receiving all their social security entitlements but are still not able to make ends meet.

 

In the past decade, the provision of charitable food aid in the UK has proved to be an ineffective and unsustainable response to deepening destitution and poverty. Food banks and other food aid groups can only ever provide a temporary sticking plaster to the problem of hunger. What’s more, according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), most households reporting severe food insecurity do not access a food bank.

 

IFAN advocates for a ‘cash first’ (income-focused) approach to food insecurity and campaigns to see a country without the need for charitable food aid. Not only do cash first interventions provide more dignity and choice to people facing financial hardship but they are effective at reducing food insecurity. DWP data tells us that the temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit reduced moderate to severe food insecurity in households on Universal Credit by 16%.

 

Your new government now has a once in a generation opportunity to reverse the tide of poverty that has swept the country over the past fourteen years. Its impact has been felt across generations as people’s physical and mental health have been thwarted. We urge you to take much needed actions as swiftly as possible.

 

IFAN is calling for immediate actions to reduce food insecurity through a cash first or income-focused approach including:

 

 

  • adopting an Essentials Guarantee as a first step towards ensuring a Living Income for all

  • the removal of the two-child limit as well as the benefit cap

  • abolishing sanctions

  • ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit alongside removing benefit deductions

  • removing No Recourse to Public Funds status

  • the permanent provision of funding for local crisis support schemes to enable every UK local authority to distribute help via cash payments 

  • ensuring employers pay a real Living Wage and provide job security

  • investment in local advice services

 

These are actions which both in the short and long term will reduce and have the potential to eliminate severe food insecurity. For millions of people across the UK, not a minute longer can be wasted. 

 

Yours sincerely,

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN)including: 

Legendary Community Club - Lewisham West and East Dulwich

The Coachhouse Food Hub - North Cornwall

Dad’s House - Kensington and Bayswater

Eggcup - Lancaster and Wyre, Morecambe and Lunesdale

Reverse the Trend Foundation - Queen’s Park and Maida Vale, Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Lewisham North, West Ham and Beckton, Stratford and Bow,                                     Bethnal Green and Stepney

The Besom in Camberely - Surrey Heath

PANTRY Cwmtawe - Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe

Sacred Heart Foodbank - Islington South and Finsbury

Moray Food Plus - Moray West, Nairn and Strathspey, Aberdeenshire North, Moray East

Craven Vale Food Bank - Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven

The Zink Project - High Peak

Darkwood Crew - Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Sufra NW London - Brent East

Heaven’s Kitchen Mini Market - North Durham

Clydesdale Food Bank - Motherwell, Wishaw and Carluke

Wyre Forest Food Bank - Wyre Forest

Eyres Monsell Club for Young People - South Leicester

Canterbury Food Bank - Canterbury

Leominster Food Bank - North Herefordshire

Govan Community Project - Glasgow South West

Telford Crisis Support - Telford 

S20 Food Bank - Sheffield South East

Preen CIC - North Bedfordshire

Kintyre Foodbank - Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber

Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church - Croydon South

Uist and Barra Foodbank - Na h-Eileanan an Iar

West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare - West Dunbartonshire

Spring Community Hub - Peckham, Vauxhall and Camberwell Green

South Norwood Baptist Foodbank - Croydon West

Wallingford Emergency Food Bank - Didcot and Wantage

Cradley Heath Community Link 

Pan Together - Isle of Wight West

Quaker Social Action - Islington South and Finsbury, Poplar and Limehouse

Hope for Belper - Mid Derbyshire

St Paul’s Centre, Crewe - Crewe and Nantwich

West Northumberland Food Bank - Hexham

Rackets Cubed - Putney

STAR Project - Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Asylum Link Merseyside - Liverpool Wavertree

Food Aid Blidworth - Sherwood Forest

Sandback Food Bank - Congleton

Pontarddulais Partnership (Pontarddulais Area Food Bank) - Gower

Bassetlaw Food Bank - Bassetlaw

Faithworks Wessex - North Dorset, Christchurch, Poole, Mid Dorset and North Poole,   Bournemouth East

Hambleton Foodshare - Richmond and Northallerton

Firth Park Cultural Centre - Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

The Easter Team - Crawley

Govan Community Project - Glasgow South West

Duns Fair Share - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Shoreline Church Food Bank - Southport

Cwmtawe Action to Combat Hardship (CATCH) - Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe

Millfield Community Fridge - Peterborough

Friends of the Homeless in Fareham and Gosport - Fareham and Waterlooville, Gosport

Banc Bwyd Llanbed/Lampeter Food Bank - Ceredigion Preseli

Single Parents Support and Advice Services - Barnsley North

One Can Trust - Wycombe

Warming Up the Homeless - Eastbourne, Hastings and Rye, Bexhill and Battle

Food, Facts, Friends Wellbeing Hub - Midlothian

Verso Care at Verso Church - St Albans

Fusion Housing - Dewsbury and Batley

Southampton City Mission Basics Bank - Southampton Test, Southampton Itchen

Shop and Donate - Cities of London and Westminster

Cleckheaton Foodbank - Spen Valley

Glastonbury and Street Bridging the Gap Foodbank - Glastonbury and Somerton

Swindon Food Collective - Swindon North, Swindon South, Chippenham

Street Treats - Manchester Central, Staylbridge and Hyde

The Collective Sharehouse - York Central 

Purley Food Hub - Croydon South

Southgate Mosque Food Bank - Southgate and Wood Green

Pollokshields Community Food Point - Glasgow South West

Diamond Hampers - Huntingdon

Machars Churches Basics Food Bank - Dumfries and Galloway

Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank - Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber

Pendle Food For All - Pendle and Clitheroe

Bromley Homeless Charity - Bromley and Biggin Hall

New Life Church - The Storehouse Food Bank - Congleton

Touch of Live Outreach - Aberdeen South

Happy Days UK - Halifax

Dunbar FoodShare - Lothian East

Comfort Memorial Food for All Foodbank - Milton Keynes Central

Community of Helping Hands - Glasgow East

Meon Valley Food Bank - Fareham and Waterlooville

Bishops Stortford Food Bank - Hertford and Stortford

Glossopdale Foodbank - High Peak

Black Country Food Bank - Stourbridge 

Woodside Community Foodbank - Stourbridge

Lifecentral Church - Halesown

Ablewell Advice Centre - Walsall and Bloxwich 

ReadiFood - Reading Central

Living Well Bromley - Beckenham and Penge

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