Jeff Smith on Trussell Trust Campaign for a fairer social security system

We’ve been getting a number of cards from The Trussell Trust campaign demanding a stronger social security system.

I want to pay tribute to the charities and volunteers who operate foodbanks. However, food insecurity is a symptom of economic failure and Labour are calling on ministers to offer real help to all those struggling to feed themselves.

That is why I support freezing people’s energy bills until at least April 2023. This step would save the average household £1,000, get future energy costs under control and help tackle inflation. Action is also needed to start insulating 19 million homes across the country over the next decade through a Warm Homes Plan. If Ministers had acted to implement such a plan a year ago, as urged by Labour, two million of the coldest homes could have been insulated already, saving the typical household an additional £1,000.

In contrast, the Government is not doing enough to help and many of its decisions have made things worse. Many working people and families were hit by the £20-a-week reduction to Universal Credit (UC) in September 2021. This was followed by further real terms cuts to UC and other benefits from April 2022. These were choices made by Ministers who are refusing to acknowledge that inflation is now causing hardship for many people. The chairs of the House of Commons’ cross-party Treasury and Work and Pensions Select Committees recommend bringing forward a proportion of the UC increase Ministers have indicated will take place in 2023, but the Government rejected this approach.

Labour’s plan would stop bills rising now and ensure sustainable energy for the future, so that people can get through the winter while laying the foundations for a stronger, more secure economy.

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