Jeremy Corbyn visited a foodbank in Brighton this week during his party’s annual conference in the city.
The Labour leader spoke to volunteers at the Whitehawk Foodbank and spent time helping to sort out the food, donated by Whitehawk FC supporters at the weekend.
The foodbank, which covers Whitehawk and East Brighton, is one of around 16-17 operating across the city and has seen usage from January to June double this year when compared to the same period in 2018.
Most donations come through supermarkets, churches and the universities.
The items most sought after are tinned meat and fruit, instant coffee, juice and milk in cartons, and they also give out shower gel, shampoos, conditioner and chocolate to those in need.
Paul Redfern, a volunteer, said: “It would be nice if they did not have to exist as there should not be a need for foodbanks in this modern age.”
Anne Amner, communications manager at the Whitehawk Foodbank, described how through the Trussell Trust they are lobbying for the five week wait for Universal Credit to be brought down as this was having a big impact on foodbank usage, affecting claimants’ health and their ability to live properly.
The local Labour and Green parties are also ‘very supportive’ of the foodbank, she said.
At its conference Labour announced it would, if elected, halve foodbank usage in its first year and would set a target of ending the need for foodbanks altogether within its first three years.
The party says it would ensure everyone in the UK has a right to food by enshrining it in law through a new Fair Food Act.
Mr Corbyn told the Brighton and Hove Indy: “It’s very sad that we as a society and a very rich country cannot provide apparently a system that means everybody gets something to eat.
“People in work even having to use foodbanks just to get by is terrible. I admire the volunteers, I thank the volunteers and the work they do but they would all say the same. They do not want to be here, they do not want to be doing it, they want a system where people have sufficient wages or appropriate benefits in order to live properly and we are sort of becoming foodbank Britain. It’s not right.”
He thanked supporters of Whitehawk FC for the food they had donated, something that is replicated at many clubs up and down the country.
Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, also attended on the visit.
Afterwards she said: “In the world’s sixth richest country, it is a scandal that people are going hungry.
“This government’s mean-spirited welfare policies and failure to think differently that has brought the situation to crisis point. Climate change and a reckless no deal Brexit threaten to make the issue of food insecurity even worse.”
For more information visit the foodbank’s website.