Food bank use hits another record high

Labour describes need for food banks as 'a shameful symbol' of government neglect


Use of food banks remains at record levels, having increased by two per cent in 2015/16.

New figures published by the Trussell Trust show that the charity provided 1,109,309 emergency food packs across its network of 424 food banks. 415,866 of these went to children.

The figures refer only to services provided by the Trussell Trust network, which is estimated to account for about half of the country’s food banks.


Image: The Trussell Trust

‘This must not become the new normal, commented Dave McAuley, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust. ‘Reducing UK hunger will require a collective effort from the voluntary sector, Government, DWP, businesses and the public’

Data suggests that the primary reason for food bank use is delays or changes to benefits, which accounted for 42 per cent of referrals. The number of working people referred because of low income, high-living costs and difficulty accessing in-work benefits also increased in the last year.

Researchers from the University of Hull, Coppelia and AAM Associates are currently developing a food bank mapping tool. Their early findings indicate a strong correlation between food bank use in electoral wards and the percentage of the population with long term health problems or disabilities.

McAuley argues that this data demonstrates the ‘urgent need to find ways to help reduce the numbers of people experiencing problems with benefits, especially vulnerable people receiving sickness and disability benefits’.

Labour’s shadow Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Kerry McCarthy, described food bank use as ‘a shameful symbol of this Tory government’s neglect.’

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

5 Responses to “Food bank use hits another record high”

  1. ZP

    Funny the BBC quoted the Trussell Trust as saying food bank use had reduced slightly

  2. Angela Bailey

    No they didn’t. Two days ago the BBC reported this…..

    With the headline ‘Food bank use increases by 13%, says Trussell Trust’.

    It is blatently obvious that this disgraceful need for food banks is primarily due to this governments, and the coalition before it, reforms of the welfare system. It leaves me completely ashamed to be British and disgusted by those 23.5% of the electorate that put this party into power.

    And when they are done with the poor and disabled, public sector workers and local authorities, who will they go after next? It is not the job of charities to feed the unemployed and disabled. Most people on benefits have worked at various points in their lives and paid plenty of tax with it. And millions of people in full time work need benefits from tax credits to help paying the rent. The sooner we have government that serves the interests of all the people, and not just a few at the top, the better.

  3. Alexsandr

    wow. people claim free stuff. shock horror.

    (Not convinced the people issuing voucher for food banks really investigate the claimants finances. GP’s may well just sign a voucher to get an awkward patient out of his consulting room)

  4. Angela Bailey

    That’s just not true. GP’s do not issue food vouchers. Mental health organisations, social services and the Jobcentre themselves issue the vouchers to people with low or no income and/or experiencing benefit delays.

    You have no knowledge of what you are commenting on. I do, and can assure you that only specific routes following referral can issue foodbank vouchers. It’s a total disgrace that so many people are being failed by welfare reform.

    By far the biggest impact was the coalition abolishing crisis loans. This is what people experiencing delays in benefits could apply for in the past, money they had to pay back once their benefits were sorted out. But Iain Duncan Smith abolished them and replaced them with nothing, and at a time that the welfare system was having huge reforms being introduced. It’s not rocket science to understand why people experiencing delays with benefits, and being left with NO money to live on end up at foodbanks.

    In addition, that majority of people being sanctioned are those with mental health problems and learning disabilities who are in the ESA Work Related Activity Group. Again reforms that don’t consider the extra difficulties thay have in functioning are to blame. The system has been reformed to fail them.

    There is no defence of any of this, dispite your attempts to lay the blame elsewhere.

  5. Angela Bailey

    And just to further add, many of those resources that issue vouchers are themselves having to ration who they give them to. There is usually a limit of no more than three in a 12 month period, although obviously if someone is experiencing months of no income or benefit delays there may be an exception made.

    It may be hard for people to grasp the notion of a million people being left with nothing or not enough to live on, but this IS really happening.

Leave a Reply