Nick Smith

Working for you in Blaenau Gwent

Food bank use skyrocketing as Tories "return country to the Victorian times"

Nick Smith MP has raised deep concerns about the increasing use of food banks in Blaenau Gwent, following figures that revealed demand on the service trebling this summer.

Figures from Network Wales have shown that during the past four months in Blaenau Gwent, the same amount of food has been handed out as in the whole of 2012.

And, during July, the food banks fed 679 adults and 327 children – 66% of who said they were using it as a direct result of benefit changes.

Mr Smith said: “A big thank you must be said to all the volunteers who are working hard to keep many families fed and to all the people who have donated the 1.2 tonnes of food by the beginning of July.

“But while we should be proud of the community coming together, we should be angry and appalled with the world the Tory’s cuts have created.

“It is almost a return to Victorian times and has no place in a civilised society that truly cares about its people.

“Since this government’s election in 2010, food banks have become a fixture in our communities.

“I’ve had a chance to help the food banks with their work in the last few years, whether that’s been a food collection outside a supermarket or a trolley push through Ebbw Vale.

“Every time I go back, the demand on the service continues to increase and it’s not stopping.

“With the last four months of demand matching the whole of 2012, it is clear the benefit reforms have taken their toll.

“This government – the likes of work and pensions minister Lord Freud – would have you believe the demand is caused just by scroungers taking free opportunities.

“I’ve spoken to people giving out food donations who tell me families have been rejecting the chance of free baby formula and early years foods.

“They reject much-needed help because they are ashamed they can’t afford to feed their own families.

“That is the reality of things – not this picture this government paints to shelter themselves from what damage their policies have caused.

“The Tories are masterminding an economy that cannot afford to support the shameful poverty it creates.”

Vouchers for the food banks, open in Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Abertillery and Nantyglo, can be collected from the constituency office in Brynmawr.

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