Anti-poverty campaigner Denis Curran insists he’s not going to give up the fight to abolish food banks despite retiring as chair of Loaves and Fishes charity.
Revealing his intention to remain a voice for the needy, the prolific spokesman this week hit out at Tory MPs who decried the government’s controversial £20 Universal Credit cut.
Ministers have come under sustained pressure to reverse their decision to end the £20 uplift introduced to support families during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are concerns it will reduce support for families by up to £1040 per year. The extra payments were set to be phased out from the end of September.
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“These are same people who were absolutely silent in 2010 when Cameron, Clegg and Osbourne cut the benefits to force people to work but did not help to create work and only allowed companies to encourage zero hour contracts”, said Denis.
“Politicians want to tell us all what’s good for us, they’re not interested in what we have to say. If they all stood up and said lets work together for a solution we could sort this and end food banks for good.”
Denis and his wife Cathie worked tirelessly for nearly 30 years to help those who, without the East Kilbride-based charity, would have nowhere else to go.
He revealed that in the last decade he saw the demand for food parcels skyrocket from 30 handouts a month to 100 a day with the charity shelling out around £4000 a month for supplies.
“People don’t want to come to food banks, they feel ashamed”, said Denis. “They’re breaking their hearts trying to feed their children.
“We’ve had nurses through the door, people drowning in debt with no way out of their situation and they’re browbeaten into thinking its their fault. It’s so sad.
“Food banks are an indictment against the poor.”
The East Kilbride community rallied round last week when the local food bank issued an urgent appeal for donations as shelves ran bare.
New chairman Dominic Everett stressed the importance of community support as Christmas approaches in what is undoubtedly the most challenging time the charity has ever faced.
Denis added: “Now the charity can’t get the food they need because of shortages and panic buying. Every year it gets worse, Christmas is bleaker and the queues outside Loaves and Fishes and other charities get bigger. This is why I’m going to continue to campaign.
“I nearly ended up a broken man working all my life to help the poor, thank God I don’t need to look at the faces this year.
“All the government needs to do is stand up for those they say they’re trying to help and give people back their proper benefits.”
Donations can be made to Loaves and Fishes from Tuesday to Friday, 10am till noon at 40 Singer Road, Kelvin Industrial Estate.
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