It is simply not right that many people in Britain are unable to access good food, and have to go to bed hungry.
Rising living costs and squeezed incomes are creating a rising tide of poverty that is threatening more and more people.
As a compassionate society we need to help people stay afloat when times are tough, but instead of anchoring people, our welfare system at the moment is pushing people – including many who are in work – further into poverty and towards the brink. It needn’t be this way. By redesigning the welfare system, we can ensure it does the job we all want and expect.
Two specific ways this could be done are by fixing Universal Credit and repairing localised crisis support.
- Where Universal Credit has been rolled out, delays, errors and inflexibility have meant many people being cut adrift and swept into debt, destitution and hunger. Fixing Universal Credit, such as by creating greater flexibility and support for applicants, could help people to stay afloat. In the longer term, society and the UK Government must ensure that Universal Credit enables people to keep their head above water and afford good food on a regular basis.
- At the same time, Local Welfare Assistance Schemes have become fragmented and threadbare. In the past, these schemes provided essential support, but they have been cut back and in some areas removed completely. National and local governments must work together to ensure robust, well-funded support is in place, so that when people suddenly encounter crisis, a lifeline is available.
End Hunger Week 2018 is a chance for community groups, individuals, campaigners and charities to step up their calls for change in their areas, by showing the root causes of hunger and how they could be tackled, and rallying support for a stronger, more compassionate society.