July 16, 2015

Westminster needs to look at number using food banks

A GLASGOW MP has urged the UK government to instigate a review into the increasing number of people dependent on food banks.

Alison Thewliss, Glasgow Central SNP MP, asked ministers about rising levels of poverty and links to benefit sanctions.

During the last Scottish questions and Prime Minister Questions before the Commons summer recess David Cameron and his ministers came under fire for the measures announced in the Budget last week.

The Tories however said their measures were working and insisted low paid workers will be better off.

Priti Patel, UK Employment Minister ignored the call and said getting people into jobs was the Conservative’s priority.

She said: "Work is the best route out of poverty and this government is taking action.”

Ms Thewliss said the action needed was on why people need to go to food banks.

She asked if the government would call an "urgent review into the 323% increase in requests for food parcels.”

Ms Patel repeated the best way out of poverty was through having a job. She told Ms Thewliss:”You need to get with the economic plan.”

Labour also joined in the attack on the Tories over welfare reform and poverty.
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Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray, Labour MP also challenged the minister on benefit sanctions.

He said he had been told by Citizens Advice Scotland there was "200 people a day being sanctioned” and he called for a review of the sanctions regime.

Ms Patel also ignored his calls and said the system of reducing or stopping people’s benefit if they don’t meet strict job seeking criteria was effective.

She said: 70% of people say conditionality (sanctions regime) helps with getting into employment.”

Mr Murray said the budget was pushing more people into poverty leaving people financially worse off and called for the UK Government to be "given the power to make the welfare state fit for the Scottish people.”

Labour interim leader Harriet Harman also challenged the Government on the budget changes and claims people on low pay would be better off.

She told the Prime Minister the increase to the minimum wage and renamed the national living wage would not compensate for tax credit cuts.
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She told him the Institute of Fiscal Studies said people would be more than £1000 a year worse off.

Mr Cameron disputed the analysis and said: "A couple, both working on the minimum wage would be better off in 2020 by £5500. Friend Link:New Beats Studio

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