MP praises pioneering Food Bank research

Local MP Hywel Williams praised pioneering research at Bangor University following a recent (21 March 2016) one-day Local Stakeholders’ Conference: Mapping Food Poverty, which exchanged information and opinion on the current rise in food bank use. 

A research project by Bangor University Social Sciences PhD student David Beck, shared at the Conference (Hyperlink to full story) revealed that Wales now has 157 foodbanks which support people at risk of not being able to feed themselves and their families (data collected July 2015) compared to 16 in 1998.

Speaking at the conference, Hywel Williams MP urged his constituents to support the work of local food banks saying: 

“There has been a huge surge in the use of food banks in Wales, as the revealing research by Bangor University’s David Beck shows so clearly.”

“It’s vital that we have food banks and I congratulate and praise those good people who work so hard to run them. But we also need to understand the reasons behind the growth.”

“About a quarter of the people of Wales live in poverty. So low incomes and particularly the government’s squeeze on benefits are a direct cause. Also, food supply and retailing has changed hugely over recent decades, making it more difficult and more expensive to provide fresh, nourishing and affordable food for families.”

“I applaud David Beck and Bangor University School of Social Sciences for their work; they have done a great service to the people of Wales in producing this vital research.”   

Bangor Social Policy lecturer Dr. Hefin Gwilym says:

“The rise in foodbanks has been greatly hastened by welfare reform measures and austerity policies, particularly since the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.”

“Food banks are becoming institutionalised and an alternative to our familiar concept of the welfare state as more welfare provision is privatised or left to families and communities on a voluntary basis.

He added:

'The local stakeholders' conference on Mapping Food Poverty was a great success with many local organisations taking part. The next step is to writer a detailed report on addressing food poverty to be sent to the Welsh and UK Governments'.

Publication date: 23 March 2016