How to tackle growing issue of poverty in Northampton to be focus of Hope Centre's virtual hustings
Chance to find out what main political parties will do about it ahead of council elections next month
Northampton Hope Centre has organised an online hustings to debate the growing issue of poverty in the town and how it can be tackled on Monday (April 19).
The anti-poverty and homelessness charity has invited representatives from all parties fielding a candidate at next month's council elections to take part in the debate.
Robin Burgess, chief executive of the Hope Group, which runs the Hope Centre, said: "Poverty has dramatically increased under Covid with the impact of unemployment.
"In Northampton, we think around a fifth of the town can be classified now classed as poor. Our work is to argue for the rights of the oppressed and the poor.
"We endorse no political party. We care about those who suffer from poverty. We care about the way people live and we want to see the truth, of how various political parties intend to respond to poverty, come out through public debate."
As a non-party political charity, the Hope Centre is committed to tackling poverty and inequality which it says has increased dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
It says the problem has been caused by unemployment rising on the back of a pre-existing issue of 14 million people nationally already being in poverty.
This creates and exacerbates homelessness, addiction and mental health problems, the Hope Centre adds.
According to the charity, the problem in Northampton has increased with around a fifth of its residents now classed as poor.
It says there are up to 7,000 people a week using food aid provision in West Northamptonshire and more than 40 organisations providing food aid in the area.
According to parliamentary research looking at how many people were in poverty published last month, 11.7 million people in the country were in relative low income before housing costs in 2019/20, which was at a similar level to the year before.
In total, 14.5 million people were in relative low income after housing costs, which was also at a similar level to the year before.
The hustings will allow members of the public to ask a question of the panel once they have registered online with 35 already signing up for the event.
Those taking part in the hustings are: Jonathan Nunn of the Conservatives; Danielle Stone, Labour; Sally Beardsworth, Liberal Democrats; Paul Powerville, Green Party, and Katie Simpson, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.
The hustings starts at 6.30pm. To register visit eventbrite.co.uk/e/northampton-poverty-hustings-tickets-148333699087.