FOOD BANKS ILLUSTRATE THE TRUE IMPACT OF STORMONT’S FAILED POLICIES
As the independent advice centre network recently publicised a 500% increase in the use of food banks in the Six Counties, it has also emerged that, in Newry, the local food bank has provided food to over 1,700 people in the past year.
These facts confirm that the policies of the Stormont administration are adding to the dire situation increasing numbers of people are finding themselves in, according to the socialist republican party, éirígí.
Voicing the party’s concerns on the issue, éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney said “In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of people in the Newry area seeking advice on availing of emergency aid from a local food bank. In turn I have assisted these people in getting food vouchers and have accompanied them to the local food bank in Edward Street.”
“The demand upon food-banks and food distribution schemes is just but one indicator of how hard the economic recession and Stormont willingness to implement British Tory policy is impacting upon many ordinary families.
“Food banks are nothing new in the 6 Counties as some churches, charities such as SVDP and others, and some community groups across the north have been operating food and fuel distribution schemes for several years now.
“There has been a dramatic increase in people seeking assistance from these services as growing numbers have become unable to feed themselves or their families as a result of rising living costs, shrinking incomes and welfare benefit cuts due to the policies of the Stormont Coalition.
“We have a situation where increasing numbers of families on low incomes are faced with no other alternative but to go to a food bank to feed themselves.
“It is a real problem, but it is one that is largely hidden and unseen.
“Part of this problem is caused by the huge supermarket chains which treat essential necessities like basic foodstuffs as commodities to be exploited in order to increase their already large profits.
“Ironically, those same huge supermarket chains will see their profit margins increase further from Stormont’s proposals to dramatically reduce corporation tax.
“As a result of the so-called Stormont House Agreement, with its focus on welfare reform, cuts to public expenditure and public services, and the loss of thousands of jobs, there will undoubtedly be further hardship and suffering forced upon families and individuals who are already struggling with basic needs such as feeding themselves and heating their homes.”
Murney continued “In recent weeks, éirígi and others have called for a broad-based campaign to object to any further cutbacks to public services in the Six Counties. Such a campaign can involve local community groups, voluntary organisations, charities and political groups who are genuinely opposed to the Stormont’s austerity agenda.
“In the coming weeks we will be promoting this campaign on the doorsteps to various communities in Newry.”