September 28, 2021 3.57 pm

Demand spikes for food banks as furlough cut-off approaches

Problem made worse by impending UC cut

By Local Democracy Reporter

A Grimsby food bank has seen more families needing food parcels over recent weeks.

The Rock Foundation are monitoring the rise in people who need assistance to put food on the table.

It isn’t clear yet what is driving it, but it comes as vital lifelines like the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit Boost are set to come to an end.

Pam Hodge, the founder of the Rock Foundation, said: “We originally saw a large rise in people coming to us at the very beginning of the pandemic. There was a big increase which levelled out as the months went on.

“Recently, there has started to be another slight rise.

“We don’t know why it is happening yet, but we are keeping a close eye on it.”

The food bank distributes bags of enough food to last a person or family in crisis for around three days.

Pam urged anyone who is struggling for food to make contact with the food bank.

“Come down to our site on Heneage Road,” she said.

“We carry out Universal Credit checks, as we have a responsibility to ensure people are eligible. We can assure people these are discreet and not embarrassing.”

The furlough scheme is being wound up on September 30, despite 1.6 million people still claiming it.

The £20 a week Universal Credit boost, which was introduced at the outset of the pandemic, is also set to expire next month.

The uplift is worth around £1,000 per year for each recipient, and charities have warned this will hit people who are already struggling to dealing with bills.

East Marsh councillor Nicola Aisthorpe warned that the impending cut will drive more working people to food banks.

“Many families will have to choose between keeping warm and putting food on the table,” the Liberal Democrat councillor said.

“This will push children even further into poverty despite their parents’ best efforts.

“It was understood that the increase was temporary, but the cost of living has only increased. Food and fuel are both more expensive.

“There is no doubt that more people will have to turn to food banks. It is a horrible and heartbreaking situation.”

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