Sunday, November 17, 2019
Home Real Life Food bank users forced to survive on just £50 a week after...

Food bank users forced to survive on just £50 a week after rent, research reveals

Trussell Trust calls on the UK Government to increase the value of social security payments.

Landmark research, commissioned by the Trussell Trust food bank network and Heriot-Watt University, reveals that foodbank users are left with an average of £50 a week to buy food and pay vital household bills after housing costs.

The ‘State of Hunger 2019’ report is one of the most definitive assessments of food poverty in the UK to date, and reveals that almost one in five households have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred to a food bank.

According to the research, 94% of people at food banks are destitute, almost three-quarters of people at food banks live in households affected by ill-health or disability, 22% of food bank users are single parents – compared to 5% in the UK population – and more than three-quarters have rent arrears.

The report, based on three years of research, highlights the three main causes of hunger and destitution in the UK: the benefits system, ill health, and a lack of welfare support from local authorities.

Trussell Trust says the majority of people referred to its food banks are in receipt of some form of social security payment, with many of these people being in work and dependent on benefits or tax credits (or Universal Credit) to top-up low wages.

They add: “Key benefits problems highlighted by the research are: a reduction in the value of benefit payments, being turned down for disability benefits, being sanctioned, and delays in payments like the five week wait for Universal Credit.”

The nationwide charity argues that increasing the value of benefits by as little as £1 per week for each main benefit type could lead to 84 fewer food parcels a year per local area.

The research also found that “almost three-quarters of people at food banks have a health issue, or live with someone who does.”

“More than half of people at food banks live in households affected by a mental health problem, with anxiety and depression the most common.

“A quarter of people live in households where someone has a long-term physical condition; one in six has a physical disability; and one in 10 has a learning disability, or live with someone who does.

The report adds: “Ill health often increases living costs and may be a barrier to doing paid work.”

Amanda (not her real name) told researchers that £130 of her £138 fortnightly benefit payment for a health condition goes to paying arrears, leaving her with only £8 to live on.

She said: “If I don’t pay my bills, then I’ll get the house taken off me. After paying arrears, I’ve got £8 a fortnight and that’s to pay for gas, electric, water. So it’s just impossible, it really is. I go to bed at night wishing I never wake up in the morning.”

Chief Executive Emma Revie said: “People are being locked into extreme poverty and pushed to the doors of food banks.

“Hunger in the UK isn’t about food – it’s about people not having enough money.

“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.

“Any of us could be hit by a health issue or job loss – the difference is what happens when that hits.

“We created a benefits system because we’re a country that believes in making sure financial support is there for each other if it’s needed.

“The question that naturally arises, then, is why the incomes of people at food banks are so low, despite being supported by that benefits system?”

Trussell Trust is calling on the UK Government to end the minimum five-week-wait for Universal Credit, ensure that benefit payments cover the “true cost of living”, and provide increased and ring-fenced funding for councils to allow them to provide local crisis support.

Join Us On Social Media

16,671FansLike
9,395FollowersFollow

Trending Now

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

Man wins Supreme Court ‘bedroom tax’ case

Supreme Court ruling offers hope to a number of disabled people hit by the cruel bedroom tax policy.

‘Pensionless Pensioner’ Brands UK Government Most Brutal ‘Regime’ In Living Memory

Woman stripped of her right to state pension says the UK Government doesn't care whether vulnerable people live or die.

New Tory housing minister says rough sleepers are ‘too comfortable’ on the streets

Kit Malthouse once argued that it was "absolutely right" to make life "uncomfortable" for homeless people.

The Latest

Shock at 160% rise in child suicides in Scotland

Scottish Government admits that the rising suicide rate is "heartbreaking".

Benefit claimants told to fork out £1400 to record disability assessments

Disabled people told to pay for expensive specialist equipment if they want benefit assessments to be recorded.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

MS sufferers failed by ‘humiliating’ and ‘incorrect’ PIP assessments, says charity

Charity says MS sufferers are being failed "at every stage" of the disability benefit assessment process.

Man wins Supreme Court ‘bedroom tax’ case

Supreme Court ruling offers hope to a number of disabled people hit by the cruel bedroom tax policy.

Follow Us

16,671FansLike
9,395FollowersFollow

More Articles Like This