Cllr John Cotton voices food bank fears

By on 26/02/2013 in Cllr Cotton, News, Video News

Cllr John Cotton has warned welfare reforms and the controversial 'bedroom tax' will hugely increase the demands on the food banks currently springing up across Birmingham.

The Cabinet member for Social Cohesion and Equalities is currently mapping the city's food banks to help co-ordinate a response to upcoming welfare reforms.

And, speaking as he opened three new food bins at Birmingham City Council’s Woodcock Street offices, Cllr Cotton said: “I think it’s a sad reflection of the kinds of pressures that the people of Birmingham are facing as a result of welfare reform, spending cuts and the general economic situation that more and more of our fellow citizens are turning to food banks for vital help.

“There’s some fantastic work going on right across the city, from voluntary organisations, faith organisations and community activists who are coming together to help support vulnerable people here in Birmingham.

“As a council we're committed to tackling inequality and poverty and continue to work closely with those organisations that are helping to provide a safety net for many of the most vulnerable people across the city. We’re really lucky in Birmingham that we have people who do this work day in and day out.

“But figures released just last week showed almost half of our inner-city children are living below the poverty line and sadly I think national government cuts and welfare reforms mean things are set to get much worse for many people across Birmingham.

“The challenge for the council and its partners is a big one and I have to pay tribute to the people and organisations that establish and run food banks. Between us we're doing all we can to mitigate the impact of these changes on the poorest families.”

Food collected at Woodcock Street will be taken by the Salvation Army to the Birmingham Central Foodbank to be distributed to families and individuals across the city.

Major Steve White, leader of the Birmingham Citadel Salvation Army, added: “People are having to choose between putting food on the table or clothes on the backs of their children and for many people these are very, very difficult times.

“We want to endorse the fact that Birmingham Central Foodbank has been doing vital work for 12 months and we’re happy to work with the Food Bank and Birmingham City Council.”

ENDS

Photographs are available to download here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157632863885634/

Birmingham Central Foodbank: http://birminghamcentral.foodbank.org.uk/

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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  1. Jim Nicholl says:

    Cllr Cotton is right to voice his concern about the ‘Bedroom Tax’ The Government appears to take great delight in making life difficult for tenants in social housing and low income families struggling to to make ends meet.

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