The European Union has made £2.5bn available across Europe to help people most in need. The position taken by the UK Government means that up to £22m of funds which could go to help support food banks will not be available. Labour MEPs have written to the Prime Minister calling on him to put those funds to use.
There are over 1000 food banks in the UK and one million people are estimated to use them in 2014. A Parliamentary enquiry has found that over the past decade household bills have increased more than wages and as a result people are increasingly struggling to buy food.
The European funds are being used across Europe but not here in the UK. This is despite food and hunger becoming an increasing problem here. The Government has been accused of turning down the funds because of their ideological opposition to the European Union.
Jude Kirton Darling MEP said “People are under intense financial pressure at the moment and many people will have used food banks this year. As the weather turns colder and people face increased heating bills and Christmas approaches we feel now is the time for the Government to remove its opposition to support for food banks.
Paul Brannen MEP said “In the medium term we would like to see food bank use decline through an increased minimum wage, less use of zero hour contracts and a youth job guarantee for young people. However, in the short term, while the need is there the Government must do what it can to stop people from going hungry.