Users of foodbanks across the UK are living on an average income of £50 per week once their rent has been paid, according to a new study.
The research carried out on behalf the Trussell Trust, one of the country’s biggest foodbank operators, suggests also that 94 per cent of foodbank users can be described as destitute.
An associated report called the State of Hunger highlights some of the struggles that people using foodbanks are currently dealing with and just how little money they’re having to get by on.
The figures show that roughly one in five foodbank users have no income whatsoever in the month prior to them needing emergency assistance in the form of charity-prepared food parcels.
Notably, three-quarters of the people who find themselves being reliant on food parcels from charities like the Trussell Trust have been affected by issues of ill health or disability.
Three key causes of a reliance on foodbanks have been cited by the Trussell Trust as being issues with the state benefits system, ill health or other life difficulties, and a lack of effective localised support for people in crisis.
Many people who have found themselves relying on foodbanks have had their benefit payments stopped, have been turned down for disability allowances or they’ve been left waiting weeks for Universal Credit payments.
The Trussell Trust has said it wants to see governments take action to ensure that their benefit payments cover the true cost of living for claimants and that councils are able to provide crisis support to people who need it.
Plus, the charity wants to see an end to the five-week wait that Universal Credit claimants often have to get through prior to receiving their first payments.
“Hunger in the UK isn’t about food – it’s about people not having enough money,” said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
“People are trying to get by on £50 a week and that’s just not enough for the essentials, let alone a decent standard of living.”
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The number of Scots struggling to keep a roof over their heads is sure to rise in the coming months as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.
The charity Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has called for a new approach to be taken towards supporting people who find themselves deep in debt.
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