In this part of London, food banks have steadily become part of the social landscape, writes Ann McGauran.
This will be surprising to some of the millions of visitors from all over the world who flock to Greenwich each year to enjoy the historic town centre.
Local politician Denise Hyland… leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich… talked to me about food banks, poverty, and the impact of the austerity agenda and welfare reforms on residents here. She outlined how her local authority works to support those most vulnerable to the impact of cuts to welfare.
“We try to be proactive and identify the people who might be most affected. When the welfare reforms started we contacted those who were likely to be impacted by the benefit cap. In Greenwich, 35 per cent of those affected were losing £50 or more a week. Most of the families affected by the benefit cap are in private accommodation. We also have people hit by the bedroom tax and we have families affected by the reduction in help with council tax benefits.
“We offer a holistic assessment, as people can fall through the cracks – for example when they are helped with housing but not necessarily with employment.”
More information about this council’s attempts to help, despite the government’s cuts, is available on Ann McGauran’s blog.
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