Our policy asks
We have a strong focus on practical solutions to poverty. Our policy asks are rooted in evidence gathered from our foodbank network’s day to day experiences of helping people in poverty and practical advice given by our project managers.
We are particularly interested in ensuring the UK has a robust welfare safety net and work that pays enough to keep people out of poverty.
Delays or changes to a person’s benefit are two of the biggest causes of referral to a foodbank. In many cases, these are down to problems with the way the Department for Work and Pensions administers benefits. Many of these can be avoided and we are asking the Government to help by implementing all the recommendations in the Emergency Use Only report;
- Improve access to and increase awareness of short-term benefit advances
- Reform sanctions policy and practice
- Improve the ESA regime: ensure claimants are not left without income whilst challenging a decision
- Sustain and improve access to emergency financial support through Local Welfare Assistance Schemes and the Scottish Welfare Fund.
- Ensure Jobcentres provide an efficient and supportive service for all clients.
- Improve Jobcentre Plus Advisers’ awareness of, and ability to respond to, mental health problems.
- Improve access to appropriate advice and support
Evidence and research
To come to these recommendations we’ve partnered with academics, charities, policy experts and drawn upon the experiences of foodbank clients and project managers to find practical solutions to tackle hunger.
- In April 2017 we published a report our report Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Foodbanks shedding light on some of the impacts of the transition to Universal Credit, and suggests practical ways in which adverse side effects can be mitigated.
- In 2013/14 our joint paper Below the Breadline was written with Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust and sought to measure the extent of food poverty across the UK for the first time and the links to problems with the welfare safety net.
- In 2014 we worked with the Church of England, Child Poverty Action Group and Oxfam on a groundbreaking report, Emergency Use Only. This identified a number of problems with the benefits system contributing to an increase in foodbank use.
- Our evidence submission to Work & Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into sanctions, in December 2014 detailed some of the harmful effects of the regime on foodbank clients.
- Our evidence submission to the Work & Pensions select committee inquiry into welfare delivery in September 2015 detailed some of the problems with the benefits system that have persisted, as well as new issues relating to delays and changes to benefits which are driving food bank use.
External report recommendations:
We contributed to the APPG on Hunger’s Inquiry into Holiday Hunger. Read our submission here.
We’re pleased to regularly input into the work of All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s Feeding Britain inquiry and continue to work closely with members of the committee. Read about our responses to the reports in 2014 and 2015.
In particular we support calls for improvements to benefits delivery, raising the minimum wage and encouraging more firms to adopt the living wage, all of which would help tackle poverty and hunger.
We support the recommendations of the Welsh Poverty Inquiry Report.
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