Surge in use of UK foodbanks

food, supplies, crisis
25/04/2018 - 08:28
The UK’s biggest foodbank network, The Trussell Trust, distributed 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis over the past year, a 13% increase on the previous year.

Some 484,026 of these went to children, according to its end of year stats.

The top four reasons for referral to a foodbank in The Trussell Trust network in 2017-2018 were ‘low income – benefits, not earning’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’.

The Trussell Trust says analysis of foodbanks that have been in full Universal Credit rollout areas for a year or more shows that these projects experienced an average increase of 52% in the twelve months after the full rollout date in their area.

Emma Revie, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: “It’s hard to break free from hunger if there isn’t enough money coming in to cover the rising cost of absolute essentials like food and housing. For too many people staying above water is a daily struggle. It’s completely unacceptable that anyone is forced to turn to a foodbank as a result.

“Universal Credit is the future of our benefits system. It’s vital we get it right, and ensure levels of payment keep pace with the rising cost of essentials, particularly for groups of people we know are already more likely to need a foodbank – disabled people, people dealing with an illness, families with children and single parents.”

The Trussell Trust says data about the types of benefit change driving foodbank use show that whilst referrals due to ‘benefit sanction’ have declined over the last year, those due to ‘reduction in benefit value’ have the fastest growth rate of all referrals made due to a benefit change, and those due to ‘moving to a different benefit’ have also grown significantly.

Research suggests that The Trussell Trust's foodbank centres account for roughly two thirds of all emergency food aid provision facilities in the UK.

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