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Andrew Mitchell MP links up food bank operations with Sutton Coldfield Job Centre Plus and benefit payment officials


Andrew Mitchell MP has chaired a meeting between Sutton Coldfield’s Baptist Church & United Reform Church (both of which operate Food Banks) and senior figures at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The meeting was organised by Sutton’s MP following a number of specific cases where JobCentre Plus erroneously referred individuals to the Food Bank without – allegedly - assessing their eligibility for benefits.

The meeting was ‘constructive’ as both Clergyman and Civil Servants agreed that they should work more closely together to create a stronger ‘safety net’ for those deemed vulnerable in Sutton Coldfield.

Following the meeting, Mr Mitchell said:
“This meeting was useful in helping work out our next steps in ensuring people receive the full range of support which they are entitled to.

“We know that there are a multitude of reasons why individuals go to the Food Bank. That is why I have arranged for a further meeting to take place between Sutton Coldfield’s Food Bank volunteers and the DWP so that together, we can explore the possibility of a continuing approach which is more cohesive and joined up.

“Armed with the advice of JobCentre’s Work Coaches, food bank volunteers would be in a position to refer the most serious cases to the DWP and perhaps a work coach could even be present during times when the foodbank is operational. Ultimately, I would like to see individual circumstances fully taken into account and turnaround times grow shorter through a more localised system which works closely with our social workers, food bank volunteers and Government officials who run our local benefits system.”

Photo: Andrew Mitchell MP alongside representatives from the Food Bank Operation in Sutton Coldfield and DWP Officials

Andrew Mitchell MP alongside representatives from the Food Bank Operation in Sutton Coldfield and DWP Officials


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