Disabled Women and Food banks

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2014 National Disabled Members' Conference
3 July 2014

Conference is concerned to hear that disabled people many disabled women hit by changes to the benefits system are having to rely on food banks, a survey of nearly 4000 disabled people carried out by the Disability Benefits Consortium reveals that of those hit by changes to housing benefit – such as the bedroom tax – more than one in ten (12 per cent) have needed to use food banks to feed themselves and their families. Also changes to council tax charges have meant that where some people were exempt they have now seen an increase in their payment, thus resulting in the need to rely on food banks. With the changeover of Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment, means more and more disabled women will turn to food banks to survive.

It is shocking to think that in 21st century Britain, people are reliant on this service, according to the Trussell Trust who says that they have seen a shocking rise of 163% in the past 12 months.

Statistics show that women tend to run homes and act as carers , they are ones who have to join the queue for handouts at the food banks, go to an approved care professional who they have to admit to they are poor and cannot afford to feed their family, so they can be deemed genuine to receive a voucher for three days emergency food. Food that will only cover the basics, so if you have a health related diet, chances are the poorer you become the sicker you become. Mothers going without food, so their children can have a full belly before they go to bed.

Some food banks are set up in old style church halls that are not accessible, so you have the additional humiliation of waiting outside until one of the volunteers can see to you. Evidence suggests that staff are respectful but that still does not stop these disabled women feeling like second class citizens.

As much as people are reliant upon the food banks, we have to say enough is enough, disabled women are entitled to live with dignity and feel valued.

Conference therefore calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to work with Labour Link to ensure that our concerns are fed into the Labour Party’s forthcoming manifesto, so come May 2015 and hopefully when there’s a change of Government, policies are in place to reverse these cruel and spiteful welfare changes so that disabled women and their families can live in fair and just society.