Cost of living: time UK gov accepts responsibility
The Scottish National Party have said it is time the UK government accepts responsibility for the cost of living crisis following an announcement from the British Red Cross they will be sending volunteers to supermarkets to ask shoppers to donate food items. The charity said there was strong evidence of families in need through food poverty.
Conservative minister Lord Freud provoked outrage in July when he questioned whether there were "causal connections" between the rise of food banks and government austerity policies. In September Education Secretary Michael Gove was accused of being "out of touch" when he appeared to suggest that families using food banks were responsible for their own predicament.
Oxfam's UK poverty director Chris Johnes told the Independent newspaper he was "genuinely shocked" that the Red Cross was getting involved in food collection, that “they don't do things for reasons of grandstanding at all”, and the fact they are doing this is a ”very clear signal of how serious things have become."
Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“The UK government can’t continue to shun responsibility for the cost of living crisis for much longer. The Red Cross volunteers must be commended for their time and work, though the very fact they are taking action shows just how dire the situation has become.
“According to a recent study, more than half a million people in the UK may rely on food banks. Charities have pointed to benefit cuts, unemployment and the increased cost of living for the growth in hunger and poverty.
“Just this week, a new poll showed that most people perceive the distribution of wealth in the UK to be far more equal than it actually is, despite inequality between the richest and poorest in society being at the highest point in over 50 years.
“It makes a Yes vote in 2014 the only way to ensure that better welfare decisions can be taken in Scotland.”
Note to Editors:
Comments from Chirs Johnes, Oxfam: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-red-cross-launches-emergency-food-aid-plan-for-uks-hungry-8872496.html
More than half a million people in the UK may rely on food banks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22715451
Most people perceive the distribution of wealth in the UK to be far more equal than it actually is http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/oct/people-unaware-extent-inequality