Food Bank Use Up 13% to Record High
April 26, 2018
The scale of reliance on food banks across the UK reached record high levels over the course of the financial year 2017-18.
That’s according to the Trussell Trust, which operates a nationwide network of food banks and says that its teams gave out a total of 1.3 million food parcels during its most recently assessed 12-month period.
Those figures represent an increase of 13 per cent compared with the previous year, with problems associated with debts reportedly accounting for 9 per cent of all referrals to food banks during 2017-18.
A total of 170,625 emergency three-day food parcels were distributed by the Trussell Trust to people living in Scotland over the course of the year being assessed.
The total number of emergency food parcels given out by the organisation across the UK as a whole has increased every year since 2013-14.
Emma Revie, the Trussell Trust’s chief executive, has described the fact that so many people find themselves in the situation of relying on food banks to survive tough times as “completely unacceptable”.
“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,” she said. “For too many people staying above water is a daily struggle.”
A particular concern for the Trussell Trust is that the roll out of the government’s new Universal Credit system is causing delays that leave people struggling desperately to cover their essential living costs.
Benefit delays were recorded as being the root cause of 23.7 per cent of all food bank referrals and benefit changes were cited as the reason for 17.7 per cent of all such referrals in 2017-18.
Relying on a low income was the most common cause of referrals to Trussell Trust during the year, the organisation’s official figures have shown.
“Universal Credit is the future of our benefits system,” said Ms Revie in a statement. “It’s vital we get it right, and ensure levels of payment keep pace with the rising cost of essentials.”
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