SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone,
has warned that the introduction of Universal Credit will see a rise in food
poverty in Northern Ireland. The Mid Ulster MLA was speaking after research
published by The Trussell Trust revealed that food bank use has spiked by
30% over the last year in communities which have endured the rollout of
Universal Credit. The charity also found that foodbank use across its
Northern Ireland network increased by 8% in non-Universal Credit communities
over the last year.
Northern Ireland Director of the
Trussell Trust, Tony Graham, said, “Our network is working hard to stop
people going hungry but the simple truth is that even with the enormous
generosity of our donors and volunteers, we’re concerned Northern Irish
foodbanks could struggle to meet demand if we see the scale of increased
foodbank use seen in full Universal Credit areas elsewhere.”
SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone
said, “All the evidence available suggests that the introduction of
Universal Credit in communities is swiftly followed by hardship for
“The simple truth is that Universal
Credit inflicts unnecessary pain on those least able to bear further
“The reason for the rising use of
foodbanks is simple and the evidence clear. When people don’t have enough
money to provide for their family, they rely on the emergency food supplies
provided by local volunteers.
“Between April and September of this
year over 13,000 emergency food supplies were issued to families across
Northern Ireland. That will only get worse if the Universal Credit rollout
is allowed to continue.
“Both the DUP and Sinn Féin abstained
on a key Westminster vote to pause the rollout of Universal Credit.
“A restored Executive and Assembly
could intervene on this issue. All parties must work together to deliver a
system that is fair, practical and compassionate.
“That means calling a halt to the
introduction of Universal Credit in the North.”