Iceland boss points out UK has more food banks than McDonald’s branches
The Iceland boss warned of the impact the cut in Universal Credit is going to have on struggling families
Richard Walker, the managing director of the supermarket chain Iceland, has highlighted the alarming number of food banks in the UK, criticising the government for the upcoming cut to Universal Credit.
Appearing on BBC Question Time on Thursday (September 24), Walker was discussing the impact that the £20 cut to Universal Credit will have on Britain's poorest.
He called the rise in food banks across the country "alarming," and said: "There's now more food banks than branches of McDonald's in this country. We're a G7 country, how can that be right?"
Research shows that it's not even close either. According to the government's own figures, there are more than 2,200 food banks in the UK, while there are around 1,300 McDonald's restaurants.
Walker added that he thought that introducing the cut to Universal Credit now was the "wrong timing and I don't think it's fair."
He continued: "I always look at this through the lens of our customers.
"We have 1,000 shops around the UK, and five million customers per week, and many of those are from the poorest communities in the UK.
"Some of our customers may rely on benefits to feed their family – some of our customers may only have £25 a week to spend on food.
"So, in that context, you can understand how this removal of the £20 credit might affect them."
“There’s now more food banks than branches of McDonald’s in this country.”
Retail chief @icelandrichard says cutting universal credit will be “a choice between heating and eating” for many people. #bbcqt pic.twitter.com/oo2ihsJrAt
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) September 23, 2021
He also thought a perfect storm could be about to hit those struggling.
Along with the Universal Credit cut, the government has announced a hike in National Insurance and the gas and energy crisis has caused bills to go up for thousands. Walker also predicted an inflation in food prices across the country in the coming months.
The £20 is therefore "coming at just the wrong time," he said.
Walker finished by saying: "For some people this is a choice between heating and eating. It really is that serious."
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- Martin Lewis issues ’emergency’ energy warning to thousands of households
- Tory DWP boss ‘entirely happy’ with slashing Universal Credit for millions