Cardinal deplores need for food banks in today's affluent society

i-r: Seema Kenney, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Lord Balfe

i-r: Seema Kenney, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Lord Balfe

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has highlighted the difficulties faced by those moved onto Universal Credit and welcomed recent Government considerations of how aspects of the Universal Credit system might be changed.

Speaking at CSAN's seventh annual parliamentary reception, yesterday, Cardinal Vincent said: "In a society as affluent as ours we need a more secure safety net to bring people through the crisis periods associated with the structured delays built into the system. I applaud all those who create and sustain food banks, but surely they should not be a feature of our care for one another in our society today."

Parliamentarians, representatives from leading Catholic charities and faith-based agencies attended Caritas Social Action Network's seventh annual parliamentary reception, hosted by Baroness Sheila Hollins in the Houses of Parliament.

The theme of the reception this year was loneliness and social isolation, which those working in the Caritas network have witnessed affecting those they serve, of all ages and backgrounds.

The event was also addressed by Seema Kennedy, Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Ms Kennedy said recalled the beginning of her life in public service, working with disabled people at Stonyhurst College, and joined hostess Baroness Sheila Hollins in highlighting the particular loneliness faced by people with disabilities.

She praised the work of the Caritas network and spoke of her work with Jo Cox to "turbo-charge the public's awareness of loneliness." "Jo knew that it wasn't just the state that could solve loneliness, it was something the Government could act on, but also civil society – groups like yours," she said.

Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) is the social action agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CSAN comprises 42 Catholic charities and dioceses which work across England and Wales supporting those living in poverty, homeless people, disabled people, travellers, migrants, refugees, prisoners and other marginalised groups.

For more information on CSAN, visit:

Read more about the Jo Cox Commission here:

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