Food bank usage up by a ‘shocking’ 51% – now serving almost 1m Britons

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The Trussell Trust has revealed it gave out nearly a million food parcels in 2013, up from 347,000 the year before, with most food bank users blaming the government’s welfare reforms for letting them down.

The charity said that the 51% increase in people turning to food banks for emergency food was linked to measures introduced by the government a year ago.

According to a number of food banks, many users attribute an interruption in benefit payments as a reason they need emergency food. Twenty per cent said they need the help because they are on low incomes.

The Trussell Trust said 913,000 people had been given a three-day food pack in the past year.

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    Chris Mould, chairman of the organisation, explained, “In the last year, we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low incomes.

    It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.

    “Unless there is determined policy action to ensure the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon”, he said.

    He added that the figure was “shocking” for 21st century Britain. The charity has suggested that the government looks at increasing the minimum wage, introducing the living wage and installing social energy tariffs.

    A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions has denied that the increased use of food banks has something to do with the government’s reforms,

    There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms or benefit administration are linked to increased use of food banks”, they said.

    Photo: Birmingham News Room via flickr

    Further reading:

    Wealth inequality costs ‘deeply divided’ UK £39bn a year

    Government ‘can’t ignore’ food poverty crisis, says leading charity

    Welfare system failing, say Church of England bishops

    Food bank usage up 60% in south-east England, UK’s second wealthiest area

    Why food banks are necessary in modern society