Thursday, 12 December 2013

MPs should donate energy claims to food banks, say Greens.

Martin Deane, of Hull and East Riding Green Party called on MPs to donate money claimed for gas and electricity on second homes to their local Food Banks.
"The news that over 300 MPs are claiming expenses for gas and electricity on their second homes has gone down badly with many people at a time when energy costs are rising by an inflation-busting 9%." said Mr Deane.
Most people's bills have nearly doubled over the past 6 years. This has not happened to wages. In fact, for most people, wages have fallen by 6.4% over 5 years in real terms.
The vast majority of Yorkshire and the Humber region's 54 MPs have claimed (nationally fewer than half of MPs have claimed).  Many MPs from Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems have all claimed for their second home's energy usage.
"For you and I, we would simply have to pick up the costs of paying for our fuel bills out of our own pockets," said Martin Deane. "This is clearly an allowance that needs to be abolished to give MPs a greater appreciation of how difficult it is for many people to pay rising energy bills.
"But there is a way that MPs can redeem themselves in the short term. While poverty is growing on their watch they can donate the money they have claimed for second home fuel to their local Food Banks."
The number of people needing food banks had tripled by last year to a population the size of Sheffield. It is expected this will rise further.
"In this way, they can direct the public money they have claimed away from people who really don't need it to people who need it the most," Martin Deane concluded.
1. Population the size of Sheffield. Half a million people rely on the goodwill of the community and food banks.
2. The number of people needing help has nearly tripled between 2011 and 2012.  This dramatic rise in foodbank usage predates April's welfare reforms. Numbers are expected to increase further in 2013-14.