A new report has found that the number of people turning to food banks in the UK has risen by 1.468% during the coalition government.
Latest figures by the Trussell Trust show that 913,138 adults and children have received three day’s emergency food and support from its food banks over 103/14 which is an increase of 346,992 since last year, reports 24dash.
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud claimed last year that the rapid expansion in food banks was being driven by people who wanted a free meal, and not by growing poverty and hunger.
Work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said in February that food banks provide a “good service” but claimed they had become “hopelessly politicised”.
Chris Mould, the Trussel Trust’s chairman said: “That 900,000 people have received three days’ food from a food bank, close to triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain. But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no food bank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food. 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 seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions. Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon. A more thoughtful approach to the administration of the benefits regime and sanctions in particular, increasing the minimum wage, introducing the living wage and looking at other measures such as social tariffs for essentials like energy would help to address the problem of UK hunger.”
Oxfam’s head of UK poverty programme, Rachael Orr, said: “The fact that the number of people forced to turn to food banks has doubled in the last year and the situation is worsening for people in poverty is deeply worrying. Food banks and the thousands of people who support them are doing an impressive job in helping stop people from going hungry, but the truth is that in a country as rich as the UK there should not be food poverty at all. The Government needs to provide adequate support to the poorest in society and urgently tackle the low incomes and rising bills that are leaving people hungry.”
And while the amount of users has swelled by 163%, there has only been a 45% increase in the number of Trussell Trust food banks opening in the last year.
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