- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
A Swansea Labour AM has today hit out at UK Government welfare policies, which have led to a staggering rise in the number of people in Wales using food banks according to one leading charity.
Recent figures out from the Trussell Trust, which runs 29 food banks and distribution centres throughout Wales, show that over 900,000 people across the UK have visited one of their food banks within the last year – a rise of 163% on the previous 12 months.
Earlier today, Swansea East AM Mike Hedges expressed his concerns over the rising number of people in Wales suffering from food poverty as a result of recent UK Government welfare policies on top of the spiralling cost of living.
Speaking in the Chamber during Plenary questions to the Tackling Poverty and Communities Minister, the Swansea AM said:
“The fact that so many people are relying on food banks in 21st Century Wales is a damming indictment of the Westminister Coalition Government’s policies, which are causing so much hardship. These are the soup kitchens of the 21st Century, caused by the Tory Government in Westminister and their little helpers, the Liberal Democrats.”
Responding to the concerns raised by Mike Hedges, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Vaughan Gething said:
“The Member’s analysis is spot on; there is no denying the fact that the explosion in food bank usage has taken place since 2011.
“There are about 80,000 people in Wales who were fed last year by food banks, and it’s not just the numbers we should be worried about, but the reasons people go there. And the overwhelming reasons why people go there are because of welfare reform and low wages; that accounts for 68% of the people who access support from food banks.”
Speaking from outside the Chamber, the Swansea East AM added:
“It’s unbelievable to think that people in one of the richest countries in the World are suffering from food poverty. It’s clear to me that we need to reverse these pernicious Welfare policies, starting with the Bedroom Tax, as well as bring a living wage and freeze on energy prices to immediately combat the cost of living crisis we are seeing up and down our communities.”