The largest food bank charity in the United Kingdom has criticised the government and demanded an urgent increase in social security payments to prevent an oncoming “national emergency” caused by the rising cost of living.
Between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022, the foodbank network supplied over 2.1 million food parcels to those in need, according to new data from the Trussell Trust.
According to the organisation, this is a massive 14 percent increase over the same period last year, with an astounding 832 thousand food packs being distributed to hungry youngsters.
However, the Trussell Trust emphasises that the real degree of food insecurity in the United Kingdom is significantly worse than their data indicate, as hundreds of independent foodbanks and community-based organisations also give assistance to individuals in need.
There are almost 1,400 foodbank sites in the Trussell Trust’s network in the United Kingdom. The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) maintains over 500 foodbanks across the United Kingdom.
In addition, there are at least 1,172 independent food banks operating in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of additional food aid providers, such as soup kitchens and social supermarkets.
According to the Trussell Trust, issues with the benefits system (delays, insufficiency, and reductions), difficult life situations or illness, and a lack of informal or formal assistance are the leading causes of foodbank use in their network.
Emma Revie, Trussell Trust Chief Executive, said: “People are telling us they’re skipping meals so they can feed their children. That they are turning off essential appliances so they can afford internet access for their kids to do their homework.
“How can this be right in a society like ours? And yet food banks in our network tell us this is only set to get worse as their communities are pushed deeper into financial hardship.
“No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.
“There is still time for the UK government to do the right thing. We are calling on the UK government to bring benefits in line with the true cost of living. As an urgent first step benefits should be increased by at least 7%, keeping pace with increases in the cost of living.
“In the longer term, we need the government to introduce a commitment in the benefits system to ensure that everyone has enough money in their pockets to be prevented from falling into destitution.”
“By failing to make benefits payments realistic for the times we face, the government now risks turning the cost of living crisis into a national emergency.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “Food banks are a symptom of economic failure, and ministers must now offer real help to working people, disabled people, families and pensioners struggling to feed themselves.”