CAMPAIGNERS and residents in York have joined calls for the Government to fix its welfare system, to prevent people falling into debt and hunger.

Members of the York Food Poverty Alliance collected signatures on Friday in Front Street in Acomb, for the national End Hunger UK campaign’s ‘Fix Universal Credit’ petition.

Nearly 10,000 people have signed the petition, and dozens did so in Acomb yesterday and in recent days at the Chill In The Community cafe.

The Archbishop of York also recently backed the national campaign.

Gavin Aitchison, spokesman for the national campaign and York resident, said: “We all want a society in which everyone has access to good food. The welfare system should keep people afloat and enable them to realise their full potential, but many people are finding that Universal Credit is instead pushing them into poverty.

"Where the policy has been introduced, food bank demand has risen four times as steeply as elsewhere.

“We had a very strong response in Acomb and have heard from several people who have encountered exactly the Universal Credit difficulties we hope to fix.

“The Government needs to provide more flexibility and support, ensure Universal Credit does not increase people’s risk of debt and destitution, and make a long-term commitment that Universal Credit will mean people have incomes that enable them to afford good food on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile, the York Food Poverty Alliance has drawn up a list of venues around the city providing pay-as-you-feel or free food during half term.

A similar effort in the summer helped provide more than 2,500 meals.

The new list can be found at