Updated: Saturday, 4th July 2020 @ 11:37am

'Manchester deserves better than this': Labour join FareShare in urging government to tackle child poverty

'Manchester deserves better than this': Labour join FareShare in urging government to tackle child poverty

By Clare Tierney

Labour MPs are joining the battle to tackle Manchester’s child poverty by campaigning for the government to take urgent action and help hard-hit families.

Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, visited the FareShare foodbank in East Manchester on Friday after research uncovered that three quarters of parents on low incomes have less than £50 a week to spend on food.

National food poverty charity FareShare estimate that they feed nearly 35,500 people per day – yet in Manchester, families’ need for help is noticeably increasing.

“We’ve got 40,000 children in Manchester, living in poverty,” Ms Creagh said. “We know that the government’s changes to the welfare system are happening next April, and we know that there’s a real food and hunger crisis in the city and in the North West that organisations like FairShare is tackling.”

A third of the funding that the charity relies upon to continue their work is raised through fundraising events.

The next appeal, which will run on October 6 and 7, is the ‘Million Meal Appeal’, which will aim to be the biggest food drive ever in the UK.

It will involve FareShare volunteers asking shoppers at Local Sainsbury’s to donate an item of food from their shop. 

Annie, 22, a volunteer at the branch, said: “We never used to get phone calls from individual families asking for food parcels, but now we get at least one call a day, up to three.

“It’s really hard to have to say that we cannot help them directly.”

Lucy Powell, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Manchester Central, said: “David Cameron claimed ‘we’re all in this together’ yet his government’s budget has left families hundreds of pounds worse off, while cutting taxes for millionaires.

“Manchester families deserve better than this.”

Councillor Afzal Khan of Manchester City Council said that the council has a four-year plan intended to tackle the causes of Manchester’s child poverty levels at an early stage.

He said: "At the heart of our plan is improving access to things like employment and training and debt advice.  

“Also supporting schools to help further improve pupil attainment, to improve the life chances for young people, and creating the kind of housing and open spaces in which families and their children can thrive.

"Government cuts mean that we're limited in some of the things we can do, but we will continue to lobby for a fairer deal for all our families and children.”

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