Thank you for contacting me about food banks and food poverty.
I completely agree with you that every human being has a right to a nutritious and adequate food supply.
Ministers are working hard to improve competition to help producers and retailers offer the best prices for food and regularly discuss all aspects of food security, including accessibility.
The Government continues to provide a strong safety net through the welfare system for those who need extra support, whilst simultaneously working to support economic recovery and get people back into work as quickly as possible. While there are currently no official statistics on the number of foodbanks, which are independent charitable organisations, I understand that the Government added questions on food security to the Family Resources Survey which will support a better understanding of the lived experiences of families.
Throughout the pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those most in need, has injected billions into the welfare system. Universal Credit has provided a safety net for six million people during the coronavirus pandemic, with the temporary £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance being extended until the end of September 2021. The Government has also made a one-off payment of £500 to eligible Working Tax Credit claimants across the UK, to provide continued extra support over the coming months.
These comes as part of a wider support package, including an increase in Local Housing Allowance rates, which benefits both Universal Credit claimants and legacy claimants in receipt of housing support. This significant investment cost almost £1 billion and ensures that more than 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 per year. The Government has also introduced the £269m Covid Local Support Grant, which is distributed by local authorities to help children and families stay warm and well-fed. This important support is being extended beyond the planned ending of restrictions, to help families get back on their feet as the economy recovers and the vaccine rollout continues.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking