Last month Rugby Foodbank announced that the number of food parcels it has handed out had risen by more than 25% since last year. This is higher than the national average and over one third went to children. The Foodbank pointed to Universal Credit, low wages and debt as the prime causes of this surge and appealed for extra help over Christmas.
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey is the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Work and Pensions Secretary so bears some responsibility for this awful situation as Universal Credit was piloted in Rugby in 2013.
That so many people in Rugby and beyond have to rely on the goodwill of fellow citizens rather than being able to claim by right the resources they need to survive is an unacceptable infringement of their dignity and freedom. The fact that our local MP Mark Pawsey and his Conservative colleagues think this is merely ‘highly undesirable’ is an indictment on their attitude and policies.
Foodbank usage and homelessness are interlinked. This week the charity Shelter reported that 105 children in Rugby will be homeless and in temporary accommodation over Christmas time. The response of Mr Pawsey and his Conservative colleagues? Merely to halve homelessness by the middle of the next decade! The lack of ambition of this target shows a complacent government dangerously out of touch with the social reality of contemporary Britain.
A list of the foodstuffs urgently required and ways to donate can be found on Rugby Foodbank’s website.
Local Green Party campaigner Bob Beggs said:
How can Rugby celebrate the Season of Goodwill when we have a record number of people depending on foodbanks and 105 homeless children this Christmas. It’s more Oliver Twist than Tom Brown and we in the Rugby Green Party are determined to haunt the dreams of the misers responsible!