Feeding Camden September 2018

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Camden foodbanks fear the worst for December demands

The Universal Credit (UC) roll out is due to reach Camden in December 2018.  The experience in areas of the country where the new benefits system has already been introduced has been extremely challenging.  Thousands of people have struggled to keep a roof over their heads and to put food on the table.  The National Audit Office, in a damning report earlier this year, criticised the Department of Work and Pensions for a roll out of UC that has left thousands of vulnerable claimants in hardship 1 with some people waiting for up to five months for their benefits. 2

A catastrophe in the making

Camden foodbanks are preparing for an “impending catastrophe in December in the run up to Christmas” according to Dorothea Hackman, Euston Foodbank, as thousands of Camden’s poorest families are expected to be made worse off by the benefit changes. According to a front-page story in the Camden New Journal of 30 August 2018 it is estimated by Camden Council that 5,000 low-income families will be worse off with half of these losing more than £100 a month.  Adrienne McPherson of Chalk Farm Foodbank fears the worst and is predicting that more people will use the service more often. 3

Camden Council plans for the big changes from the UC roll out

Council Leader Georgina Gould has said that the council is making sure advocacy and advice are in place for residents.  Proposals are being drawn up to mitigate the impact including supporting vulnerable residents with no experience of budgeting.3

With food supplies falling short now…

Euston Foodbank is already supporting around 500 people a month. Before Universal Credit hits there is already a big shortfall in supplies.  The foodbank needs some five tonnes of food a month and it is estimated that they are receiving three tonnes.  They are presently borrowing from other foodbanks and using cash donations to buy food.3

…and school holiday periods experiencing increased demand4

The Camden foodbanks have every reason to be pessimistic about meeting the needs of the local population during what should be the Festive Season.

Jean Kilshaw, on behalf of Feeding Camden

Feeding Camden September 2018