Food poverty charity the Trussell Trust has called on the prime minister to commission an urgent inquiry into the “scandalous” levels of food poverty in the UK, after dramatic increases in food bank enquiries.
The calls come after the charity announced that the number of three-day emergency food parcels issued between April and September 2013 stood at 350,000, a three-fold increase on the same period last year.
This number accounts for only Trussell Trust food banks, with that figure likely to be much higher if including independent food banks across the UK.
The Trussell Trust has written to David Cameron, demanding an urgent inquiry into the levels of food poverty. It has also criticised the government for sitting idly whilst people go hungry.
Chris Mould, executive director of the trust, said, “We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to food banks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse.”
It is believed by many that the rising cost of living, along with falling wages and long-term unemployment are contributing to the surge in food bank enquiries.
At a food bank in Barnsley, a service-user recently told Blue & Green Tomorrow, “I simply can’t afford to put food on the table for my children. I’m being crippled by the bedroom tax and increasingly expensive bills.”
The 39-year-old father of three, a mechanic by trade, had been unemployed for six years after suffering cardiac failure in 2007.
“I feel the government have labelled me a scrounger, but I want to work”, he said.
“Sometimes, you just have to swallow your pride and turn to other for help.”
Mould added, “This is not about pointing fingers, it’s about finding solutions. That’s why we believe an enquiry is now essential”.
The calls have also been supported by poverty charity Oxfam.