Mayor calls for benefits rise to help vulnerable cope with food price rises in a no-deal Brexit
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson is calling on the Government to increase welfare payments by 20% to help people in poverty continue to afford to buy food in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Mayor Anderson said: “We are hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit and a real risk of a crisis facing the availability and cost of food for the most vulnerable in our city.
“We know that
foodbanks which rely on donations are likely to see a reduction in those
donations either from manufacturers, retailers and the public.
hospitals, care homes, homeless shelters, meals on wheels are all likely to
suffer as a result of price increases and supply chain disruption.
“There are people
who we know are on benefits, in low paid jobs, have disabilities or rely on the
state pension. Many of these use our school breakfast clubs, holiday hunger
schemes and our food banks on a regular basis because they are on the edge of
“Food banks can’t
pick up the pieces – they are already struggling to cope with the demand and
have made it clear to government they can’t respond in the event of food
donations drying up. They don’t have the capacity to stockpile. The government
needs to recognise the impacts on residents who are at risk of food
Sustain, the alliance for better food
and farming, which represents
organisations who feed people in need such as Fareshare and the Trussell Trust
– fears that 8.4 million people across the country
could be pushed into crisis due to rising food prices, increasingly precarious
jobs, and possible shortages of food – especially staples like fresh fruit and
He added: “What I
am saying loudly and clearly to Government and to politicians in Westminster is
that the poorest people in the country need your help. You need to understand
and recognise that a no-deal Brexit is going to increase the cost of living to
the poorest within this country.
is spending £100 million on a publicity campaign telling people to get ready
for Brexit when it should be spending money helping those who will be worst affected
“So I am calling
on Government to agree to uplift benefits and pensions by 20 percent, so that
vulnerable people know they will be able to live in security and afford the
increase in prices which could just be weeks away.”
Sustain wants the
Government to guarantee a hardship fund so that people on a low income can feel
confident that they would be able to buy the food they need for themselves and
their children, and that frontline charities would be able to continue to serve
meals to vulnerable people most in need.
Chief Executive Kath Dalmeny said: “The Government must acknowledge that millions of people could go hungry unless a national hardship fund is set aside, with clear contingency plans for how this could be distributed effectively to reach those most in need.
“We can all do
our best to respond locally, but large-scale national action and communication
is also required. We believe that the UK public must be made aware of the
threats to food supply, not least to ensure informed public and professional
decision-making and to prevent panic buying, and we support this call from
Mayor Anderson for help to be provided to the most vulnerable.”