Food banks operated by the Trussell Trust handed out more than 1.5 million emergency food parcels in the 12 months up to the end of March.
That figure represents an unprecedented demand for emergency parcels as more and more people across the UK find themselves struggling so much for money that they rely on charity support to feed themselves and their families.
The Trussell Trust is the largest food bank service provider in the country and it says that more than half a million of its emergency food parcels went to children in the year to the end of March.
After revealing its latest numbers on emergency parcels, the charity said that it sees issues relating to the Universal Credit welfare system as a “key driver” of growing demand for food banks.
Delays to the payment of state benefits and those benefits not covering the essential costs of living both figured prominently as reasons why people were referred to their local food banks for emergency supplies.
“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five-week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics,” said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
“As a priority, we’re urging the government to end the wait for Universal Credit to ease the pressure on thousands of households. Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a food bank in the first place.”
Food banks operated by the Trussell Trust in Scotland handed out more than 210,000 emergency food parcels to people in crisis over the course of the year 2018/19, which represented a 23 per cent increase compared to the year before and a near-200 per cent rise over the past five years.
“What we are seeing year-upon-year is more and more people struggling to eat because they simply cannot afford food,” noted Laura Ferguson, the Trussell Trust’s operations manager in Scotland.
“A 200% increase in just five years is not right,” she said.
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The Scottish government has committed to spending £64 million next year to help people in all parts of the country reduce their energy bills.
Ministers of the UK government have committed to phasing out the £20 uplift in the regular payments made via the Universal Credit system.
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