Over 900k Britons using food banks: Report
A new report shows the number of British citizens relying on help from food banks has soared and is expected to soon break the one million mark.
The report published on Saturday by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank provider, said 913,138 people received handouts from food banks in 2013-2014, up from 128,697 in the previous year.
The trust also noted that the current level is much higher than the number registered in 2005-2006 when 2,814 people were given three days of emergency food deliveries by the trust.
The report highlighted that the actual number is much higher as the presented data do not include “those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no food bank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.”
According to the report, half of those referred to one of the trust’s over 400 food banks last year were a result in delays or changes in state benefit payouts.
The trust also said British families on low incomes have not experienced benefits of economic recovery.
“In the last year we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions,” the report said.
The file photo shows Trussell Trust volunteers working at one of its food bank centers.
The trust warned that if the government does not take action to ensure that the benefits of the recovery reach low-income households “we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.”
The report called for an introduction of the living wage and an increase in minimum wage in a bid to tackle the problem.
Rachel Reeves, UK’s shadow work and pensions secretary, recently wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for him to reduce the number of Britons using food banks.
Reeves said under Cameron’s leadership too many working people are being paid so little that they are unable to feed their families and too many Britons have been let down by the government’s social security system, including cases of “delays in benefit payments, unfair benefits sanctions and the bedroom tax pushing people to the doors of food banks.”
A spokeswoman for Cameron’s Conservative party responded by saying, “We know that many families are facing tough times as a result of the great recession of recent years.”
The current UK government led by Cameron launched austerity measures when it came to power in 2010 in a bid to tackle the country’s mounting debt and sluggish growth, but the policies have sparked public protests in recent years.