Charities to get £16m to provide food to the vulnerable during lockdown
Environment Secretary George Eustice made the announcement at the Downing Street press briefing (Sky News)
The Government is setting up a £16million fund to help provide food to vulnerable people during the coronavirus lockdown.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said 5,000 frontline charities and community groups in England will benefit, including refuges, homeless shelters and rehabilitation services.
Fronting the Downing Street press briefing, he said: "During this difficult time, our frontline food charities are doing brilliant work amid a significant increase in demand - working in refuges, drop-in services, homeless centres and other places.
"It is absolutely vital they have the resources they need and this funding will help the most vulnerable in our society get the food they need at this enormously challenging time."
The cash is separate to the £750million pot previously announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help charities, and will help those in both rural and city settings who are struggling to afford or access food.
It will be used to provide millions of meals over the next 12 weeks and be delivered through charities such as FareShare and Wrap.
They have both established networks for funding local charities and delivering food, ensuring support can get to where it is needed as quickly as possible.
Mr Eustice also revealed the number of daily coronavirus tests rose by more than 10,000 to 97,029 on Thursday, but the Government still missed its 100,000 target for a sixth day in a row.
The minister also read out the latest figures from the Department of Health. showing 31,241 people have now died from Covid-19, up by 626 on the previous daily total.
PM SPEECH 'SPECULATION'
And, ahead of Boris Johnson’s planned TV address about easing the lockdown, he added: “Finally, I’m conscious that there is a great deal of speculation about what the Prime Minister might say on Sunday when he outlines a roadmap for the future and how we will evolve the current restrictions.
“The PM will outline any changes to the guidance on Sunday, but in the meantime, in spite of the sunny bank holiday it is vitally important that we continue to abide by the current restrictions: stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.”
He said Brits “have to be realistic that there isn’t going to be any dramatic overnight change”.
Mr Eustice explained: “We will be very, very cautious as we loosen the restrictions that we have, as the data that we’re outlining on a daily basis shows we are not out of the woods. There are still major challenges with this virus.
“We will be living with this virus for some time to come and it’s therefore important to avoid that second peak that could overwhelm our NHS, that we exit and evolve these restrictions very very carefully.”