LONDON Euro-MP Jean Lambert has slammed the government’s record on poverty during a visit to a food bank in Deptford.
Ms Lambert visited the community-run New Cross and Deptford Food Bank on Friday.
She said: “The ‘We Care’ Food Bank is a lifeline to the 500-or so families it helps but, at the same time, a stain on the government’s record on poverty.
“I cannot praise the work of food bank volunteers enough, they are doing a great service to their community. But the fact is that nobody in one of the world’s richest nations should be in such poverty that they rely on food handouts.
“Food banks are booming in response to austerity measures across Britain – and London is no exception.
“People in the capital have seen their wages stagnate, their benefits cut and their cost of living soar. The government must get a handle on things by increasing the minimum wage and ensuring people’s access to social security is adequate to meet their needs.”
The ‘We Care’ Food Bank was opened on New Cross Road last year by members of the local community shocked to find people living by collecting food from bins. It is not supported by the state – or any religious organisation.
In less than one year it has gone from helping 28 people to having over 1,000 regular ‘clients’.
It is thought to be the only food bank in the country offering fresh fruit and vegetables – as well as pet food – to those it helps.
Co-founder Ray Woolford said: “Huge numbers of those we help are disabled; many are victims of rising rents and the bedroom tax, many have small business and are not on welfare, but have no cash flow at all.
“We also have an advice centre to help with the huge volume of case work and appeals.