I was drawn out of the ballot for Prime Ministers Questions today for the first time.
I asked the Prime Minister about the UK’s increased use of food banks since 2010, and if he knew how many more families would now be reliant on food banks as a result of the Government’s cut to tax credits.
Needless to say, he didn’t answer the question.
The number of people requiring access to food banks in the UK is growing, and over the last 5 years has increased by 1665%:
The number of people accessing food banks specifically in Wales is growing. Trussell Trust figures reveal that 85,875 people were provided food in 2014-15, compared to 79,049 in 2013-14, and 35,919 in 2012-13. This is a huge 140% increase in the use of food banks in Wales in the last three years.
With the Government’s planned legislation to cut tax credits passing in the House of Commons last night, my concern now is how many more people in Wales and across the UK are going to become reliant on food banks in order to survive following the loss of people’s tax credits.
My full question to the Prime Minister was:
“Food bank use has risen by 1665% since the Prime Minister took office in 2010. In Cardiff Central, I meet people every week who rely on food banks to feed their families.
“Does the Prime Minister know how many more families will now be relying on food banks as a result of his Government’s cuts to tax credits and does he care?”
Rather than acknowledging the issue of increased food bank use, and the impact this has on families in Cardiff Central and across the UK, the Prime Minister avoided the issue and instead talk about benefit statistics.
Mr Cameron’s response in full was:
“Well what is happening in her constituency is the number of people claiming unemployment benefit is down 20% in the last year, the youth claimant count has fallen by almost 20% in the last year, and the long term youth unemployment has fallen in the last year by 38%. That is what is happening, and of course I don’t want anyone in our country to have to rely on food banks. But the right answer to this is a growing economy, creating jobs, higher wages, the national living wage and cutting taxes. That’s what we’re delivering and that’s how to help Britain’s families.”