UK foodbank use is still at record levels

The Trussell Trust estimates that between April and September, approximately 298,000 people visited foodbanks


Data released by foodbank charity The Trussell Trust today shows that foodbank use in the UK is still at a record high.

In the first six months of 2015/16, Trussell Trust foodbanks gave 3 per cent more emergency food supplies to people than during the same period last year.

Between April and September 2015, Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK gave 506,369 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 492,641 in the same period last year. 185,218 of the three day supplies went to children.

On average, people needed 1.7 foodbank referrals in this six month period, leading the charity to estimate that approximately 298,000 people are likely to have been unique users.

Benefit delays (29 per cent) and changes (14 per cent) remain the biggest cause of foodbank use, accounting for 43 percent of total, a slight reduction on last.  Low income is responsible for 22 per cent of referrals, up from 21 per cent last year.

UK foodbank director Adrian Curtis suggested that the actual figures may be even higher, as many of the agencies and charities which refer people to foodbanks are reporting that funding restrictions have squeezed or closed their services. Curtis also warned that planned changes to tax credits could make the problem worse:

“We’re seeing that hunger remains a major issue for low income families and individuals. When the proposed changes to tax credits are implemented, we are concerned that more working families will not be able to make ends meet, and that we could see a substantial rise in foodbank use as a result.

“As a nation we need to learn more about the realities of life for people struggling on low incomes and make sure that no incomes are too low to live on.”

There is also likely to be a significant rise in numbers of people needing foodbanks when the weather gets colder, as people on low incomes are forced to choose between eating and heating.

In December 2014, referrals to foodbanks were 53 per cent higher than the average across other months, with over 130,000 three day food supplies being given to people in crisis in just one month.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward

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8 Responses to “UK foodbank use is still at record levels”

  1. Rowdie111

    Of course it is….so are Aldi and Netto at record levels…The British public love a good deal….and Foodbank deals are better even than the Discounters !

  2. adam smith

    This of course has nothing to do with the EU or mass immigration overwhelming the jobs market so wages are depressed, millions can only work part time and housing costs are unaffordable

    Join Leave.EU-

    Leave.EU facebook-

  3. Sid

    How many were immigrants ?

  4. GhostofJimMorisson

    Yet the shops on a weekend are always teeming with people buying crap they don’t need and probably can’t afford. Austerity is a myth, perpetuated by the left-wing media. All we have seen are cuts to some government departments.

  5. jane

    In reply to GhostofJimMorrison, below: you might like to try volunteering in a food bank, as I do, and think again about your comments. Of course there are people shopping at weekends. These are not the people who come to the food bank. I meet people there in genuinely desperate circumstances – for example, a mother of four young children whose benefits had been delayed for weeks and who literally had no food for them (they had gone to school hungry that day); a man who was sanctioned for a month for missing an appointment because he was ill; a father in two low-income jobs who often had to choose between buying nappies and buying food; a man with only one arm who was told he was fit to work and consequently lost his benefits. These people are victims of the government’s deliberate onslaught on the poor. You are very lucky if you think austerity is a myth; you are clearly not suffering the consequences of it. But please bear in mind that many people I see at the food bank have previously had jobs, mortgages – all the trappings of a successful life. It takes very little these days to lose all that and end up struggling to survive. It is just as likely to be you one day, so please show a little compassion.

    To Rowdie111: You clearly don’t understand how food banks work. People cannot just turn up and claim free food; they have to be referred by a charity, a social worker, a GP, CAB, etc, who will look at their circumstances and then issue them with a voucher. We do not accept anyone who doesn’t have a voucher. I might also add that most of our clients at the food bank are deeply ashamed of the necessity to rely on charity to feed themselves and their families. They find the experience humiliating, no matter how much we treat them with respect and sensitivity. These are decent people who have reached absolute rock bottom and have nowhere else to turn.

    Sid and Adam Smith: don’t be so silly. I live in a town with next to no immigration. It has a food bank.

  6. jane

    Please see my reply above.

  7. jane

    Pls see my reply above.

  8. Wobbly chops

    I have in the past had no food, it’s horrible being hungry . But this is caused by the new labour poor money management.

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