Reuse Network push for hardship to be top of Prime Minister’s priorities from day one

Posted on the 27th June 2024

Hundreds of charities push for hardship to be top of Prime Minister’s priorities from day one

Over the past five years, the number of people experiencing destitution more than doubled. Four million experienced destitution in 2022 including one million children, and in the last year, food banks in the Trussell Trust network distributed a record 3.1 million emergency food parcels.

The consequences of poverty and hardship are far-reaching and can negatively impact individuals’ health, education, and overall wellbeing. According to a recent study by Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), they found that:

• Seven million low-income households (60%) were forced to go without essentials like food, adequate clothing and basic toiletries in the six months to May 2024.
• Five million low-income households (42%) took fewer showers or baths due to cost during the cost-of-living crisis so far.
• 7 in 10 (71%) low-income households in the bottom 20% of incomes were going without essentials in May this year, the same as May last year.

Reuse Network sign open letter asking the next Government to prioritise tackling hardship

At Reuse Network we also understand the consequences of deepening poverty. Many of our member charities are experiencing a growing need for their services, providing essential furniture items to individuals and families either for free or at a minimal cost. Frequently, this assistance comes at the charities’ own expense.

That’s why Reuse Network along with over 200 organisations committed to ending poverty have called on the people most likely to be the next Prime Minister to put tackling hardship at the top of their agenda from day one.

Frustrated by the “stark lack of focus” from Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer during the campaign, the diverse network of organisations placed their message that hardship must be at the top of the Prime Minister’s to-do list in national newspapers with one week to go until the election result.

The letter signed by organisations including the Trussell Trust, Citizens Advice, Crisis, Age UK, Barnardo’s, Mencap, Scope, Mental Health Foundation and many more, says, “it is clear [the public] want to see action and commitments to turn this situation around so that no one is forced to go without the essentials or need a food bank to survive.”

Craig Anderson, CEO of Reuse Network says:

We join the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Trussell Trust and over 200 organisations to call on the political party leaders to urgently set out a plan to help provide immediate relief to families struggling with hardship, as well as commit to developing a serious and ambitious strategy to build a future where everyone can afford the essentials.

Our charity members act as furniture banks across the UK, and we have been hearing of the desperate need for essential furniture and electrical items at a time when costs are soaring, and adequate support is wavering.

Last year, Reuse Network members supported 1.59 million households by providing access to essential household items, saving these households £335.3 million compared to buying these items brand new.

Many of our charity members are stepping in to fill the void by providing household furniture and electrical appliances. But this is not sustainable. The next government must take action to tackle hardship and ensure proper support for those who need it.”


You can read the public letter and JRF’s pre-election cost of living tracker here:

You can write to your parliamentary candidate and urge them to take action now.

Work with us to alleviate poverty

At the Reuse Network, we work with reuse charities and commercial partners to help alleviate furniture poverty to ensure everyone has a sustainable home.

If you are able to support us in our mission with funding, or donations of household goods, please get in touch with our Commercial Manager,

Find out more about our work.

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