More than 150,000 people join our call for an Essentials Guarantee

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Trussell Trust CEO Emma Revie, actor Charlotte Richie and representatives from food banks stand outside parliament. They are holding a banner that says 'We stand with 150,661 people. It's time to guarantee our essentials'.


Credit: Jess Hurd


Today, we (along with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) handed in our petition to the leaders of UK political parties in Westminster, urging them to support the introduction of an Essentials Guarantee.

This would enshrine in law the principle that Universal Credit always, at a minimum, provides enough to cover the cost of the essentials such as food, utilities and vital household goods.

More than 150,000 people stood together and signed the petition, and the Essentials Guarantee has also received overwhelming support from across the charity and business sectors, as well as a huge number of faith leaders and churches. Last month dozens of celebrities and influential voices signed an open letter demanding politicians address the growing levels of poverty in the UK.

Food banks from across the UK were joined by actor Charlotte Ritchie to hand in the petition. Representatives from Barnardo’s, Locality, Motor Neuron Disease Association, Just Fair, and Mental Health Foundation were also in attendance to celebrate this milestone achievement, showing the huge groundswell of support for the campaign just one year after its launch.

The Essentials Guarantee would be set regularly, based on an independent recommendation, and would be the first time since the welfare state was created that social security rates were based on what people need, and how much those things actually cost.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that, from April, the £90 weekly Universal Credit standard allowance is £30 less than the weekly cost of essential items for a single person, contributing to hundreds of thousands of people needing the help of food banks because they can’t make ends meet.

Mandy, Manager at Pontypridd Foodbank said:

“More and more people are coming to our food bank because Universal Credit simply isn’t enough to afford the essentials. I know first-hand what this feels like. Universal Credit is not enough for me and my kids to live off and the knock-on effect of having to tread water every day can make you feel helpless.

But this can change, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who signed this petition and is standing with us today. An Essentials Guarantee would drastically reduce the number of people who need my food bank’s support and give hope to people in the same situation I was in.”

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust said:

“When record numbers of people are being left with no option but to use a food bank, it’s time to reassess the systems that should be there to support us all. The biggest driver of food bank need is the failure of our social security system to protect people from going without the essentials.

Last month, more than half of people receiving Universal Credit ran out of food and couldn’t afford more. Food banks do all they can to support the people who need their help, but they are not the solution to tackling hardship in this country.

We know that the public is deeply concerned about poverty and hunger, and now more than 150,000 people have signed our petition and are standing with us calling for an Essentials Guarantee. It is becoming impossible to ignore our collective voice telling political party leaders to act. Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign so far: together, we can end the need for food banks in the UK for good.”

Now we’ve handed in our petition, we’d like to say thank you to our food banks while we continue to push for an Essentials Guarantee together.

Send a message of support to our food banks