Posts in '2018'

“Benefit levels must keep pace with rising cost of essentials” as record increase in foodbank figures is revealed

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Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64%.

For the first time, new national data highlights the growing proportion of foodbank referrals due to benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials, driving the increase in foodbank use overall. ‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a foodbank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28% of referrals UK-wide compared to 26% in the previous year. Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.** (more…)

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Call for child benefits freeze to be lifted as new report shows families with children are most likely to need foodbanks

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  • Families with children make up over half of foodbank users, who are more likely to have dependent children than the UK average
  • Households with children at foodbanks are more likely to be in work than households without children, but the average equivalised income of working families stands at just £419 per month, less than half of the low-income threshold for the UK and well below the Minimum Income Standard for families
  • Single parents reported rising food and housing costs as particular issues whilst couple parents were more likely to be facing a double-burden of childcare and ill-health

Analysis published today by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield sheds new light on the type of families using foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network and highlights that families with dependent children are more likely than other family types to use foodbanks. 70% of families at foodbanks have dependent children, compared to just 42% in the general UK population. Single parent households are particularly at risk of needing a foodbank – they are almost two times more prevalent among households at foodbanks compared to the general population. (more…)

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Calls grow for Government measure of ‘hidden hunger’ as new figures show 1 in 4 parents skipping meals because of lack of money

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  • Over 1 in 10 adults and almost 1 in 4 parents with children aged 18 and under skipping meals because of lack of money
  • Majority of adults (3 in 5) have seen food bills go up in last 3 months, reflecting higher food inflation
  • 77% of adults agree the Government should measure household food insecurity**
  • Coalition of food poverty charities, End Hunger UK, calls for national measure of household food insecurity to tackle ‘hidden hunger’ crisis

New figures released today show the extent of ‘hidden hunger’ across Britain, with 16% of adults either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping meals, 14% worrying about not having enough food to eat, and 8% going a whole day without eating because of lack of money in the last 12 months. People are seeing higher food bills, with 59% of adults seeing their groceries costing more in the last three months compared with the same period before.

Parents of children aged 18 and under are particularly food insecure, with 23% either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping a meal due to a lack of money, 23% worrying about not having enough food to eat, and 13% going without eating for a whole day in the last 12 months. Parents with primary school-age children (aged 5-11) fared worst, with 27% either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping meals to make ends meet in the last 12 months.

People in work didn’t fare better than the average, with similar figures for skipping meals, working about not having enough to eat and going a whole day without eating. However, the  survey also suggests other groups, such as people not in work and 18-24 year olds, face dangerous levels of food insecurity. 36% of unemployed people had skipped a meal and 28% had gone a whole day without eating, while 23% of 18-24 year olds had skipped a meal and 20% worried about not having enough food to eat.

Most (77%) of adults think the Government should monitor how many people in the UK are food insecure. Anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust has reported that foodbank use is set to hit record numbers this financial year, but these figures do not include independent foodbanks (which make up around a 1/3 of the total number of UK foodbanks[1]), other food aid providers, or people who skip meals without asking for help.

Foodbank figures also cannot capture people who rely on friends and family or discount food to get by. Today’s figures show 21% of adults bought cheaper or discounted food out of necessity, while almost 1 in 10 (8%) relied on friends and family for a meal, highlighting the scale of ‘hidden hunger’. Parents with children aged 18 and under were even more likely to rely on friends and family (11%) or buy cheap or discounted food (28%).

In response to today’s new statistics, End Hunger UK, a coalition of food poverty organisations which includes The Trussell Trust, the Food Foundation, and the Independent Food Aid Network, have called on the Government to commit to measuring household food insecurity.

Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields and author of a bill on measuring food insecurity, said today:

‘Now is the time for the government to sit up and tackle the growing issue of hunger in our country. Whilst the Government has carried out snapshot measures of food insecurity, these are piecemeal and don’t allow for assessment of long-term trends. We know that 1.1 million food parcels are given out in Trussell Trust foodbanks alone but these figures are clearly the tip of the iceberg. – the United Nations has estimated over 8 million people in the UK are food insecure; approximately 2000 food banks and foodbank centres are in operation; rising levels of hospital admissions due to malnutrition cost the NHS £12bn per year; and there are record levels of in-work poverty.

Without a robust system of household food insecurity measurement in place, making policy to mitigate hunger will never become a reality. It is clear that the time for action is now and urgent. That’s why I’m taking a bill to Parliament to make the Government measure hidden hunger, because what gets measured gets mended.’

Laura Sandys, Chair and Founder of the Food Foundation, said today:

‘The research shows that more and more of British families are unable to provide regular meals and are frequently anxious about providing the basics –  food on the table for their families. Not only is this unacceptable in 21st Century Britain but we have to start counting the health and social consequences for the next generation. We know that food insecurity can trigger a range of unhealthy eating habits and force people to buy cheaper, less nutritious and more calorific food. This Government has an opportunity to lead the fight against this hidden hunger by measuring household food insecurity and making sure people can afford to feed themselves and their families a healthy diet.’



**Food insecurity is defined as going hungry, at risk of going hungry or worried about going hungry due to not being able to afford food


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2032 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th – 17th January 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

End Hunger UK is supported by many national organisations, including: Baptist Union of Great Britain; Church Action on Poverty, Church of Scotland; First Steps Nutrition, Food Bank As It Is, Magic Breakfast; National Federation of Women’s Institutes; Nourish Scotland; Food Ethics Council; Food Matters; Oxfam GB; The Food Foundation; The Methodist Church; The Trussell Trust; Independent Food Aid Network; Student Christian Movement; Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; Quakers in Britain and United Reformed Church.


[1]Mapping the UK’s Independent Foodbanks’, 2017, Independent Food Aid Network.

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Trussell Trust response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

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‘The Chancellor’s Spring Statement today offers an economy that works for some, but not all. The evidence from foodbanks is clear – for people who could struggle to find or cannot manage full time employment, the economy isn’t working. Disabled people and those with health issues are over-represented in foodbanks, along with families with children – especially single parents.

We urge the Chancellor to address these issues in the Budget later this year, specifically by unfreezing and uprating in line with inflation rates levels of child tax credits and child benefits in Universal Credit, and by ensuring work pays for parents as the new system rolls out by allowing families to keep more of what they earn. Reversing cuts to disability benefits and improving financial support for people on disabilities on Universal Credit will also help ensure fewer people need a foodbank referral in the future.’

Garry Lemon, Head of External Affairs

Read more about our research and advocacy work here, and read our groundbreaking research with the University of Oxford and Kings College, London, here.

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We smile, offer a cuppa and have a wee chat: what’s it actually like inside a foodbank?

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If you’ve caught any news over the past few years, you’ve probably heard a fair bit about the rise in foodbank use.

But it’s hard to imagine what a foodbank is actually like if you’ve never been inside one.

I run Hamilton District Foodbank. We work across Hamilton and Blantyre in South Lanarkshire, and have been giving emergency food to people referred to us since 2013 – in 2016-17 we provided 4,015 food supplies to local people. But like so many other foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network, we offer a lot more than emergency food. (more…)

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As the cold weather bites, how do we ensure everyone has enough money for fuel?

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“I am constantly writing letters and making phone calls to see what help or advice I can get. I am at breaking point, as each day there is something else to contend with. I feel helpless, mentally exhausted and so low. I really don’t know what I am going to do. I cannot get by month to month. It’s hard enough doing it week to week on a low income. I can’t afford to use my heating, even though it is so cold and my son suffers with his chest and lungs. No doubt he will end up in hospital during this cold period.”

This Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, we want to want to raise awareness not only of fuel poverty, but also the responses, both amongst local communities and through policy, that can stem the tide.

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Putting food on the table: the human right to eat in the fifth richest country in the world

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As a society, we believe in justice and compassion. That, as we grow up, we should have the same chance to get on and succeed in life – whether we’re from the Cheshire countryside, or the potteries of Stoke-on-Trent.

For most of us, this starts with having enough to eat, proper clothing, and a safe place to call home. But what happens when we can’t put enough food on the table? Who can – and should – step in to help?

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Why working with Asda & FareShare will help bring us closer to ending the need for foodbanks

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It’s simply not acceptable that so many people in the UK face hunger, and we won’t sit by whilst increasing numbers of people are expected to hit crisis and need a foodbank’s help.

We’re committed to creating long term change, challenging the structural issues that lock people into poverty and seeing an end to the need for foodbanks. Whilst we work on this, we’re also committed to ensuring everyone referred to a foodbank in our network receives the best possible support.

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Asda, The Trussell Trust and Fareshare launch £20 million partnership to help a million people out of food poverty

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We are thrilled to announce a new partnership between Asda, The Trussell Trust and FareShare in a three year programme that will prove transformative for people facing hunger in our communities. The Fight Hunger Create Change programme will give support directly to foodbanks across the UK to expand their services to help more people in crisis, and enable us to develop our More Than Food projects, such as holidays clubs and Eat Well Spend Less courses, that help build resilience so people are less likely to need a foodbank in the future. And in partnership with FareShare it will also create a delivery structure of fresh food to foodbanks. (more…)

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Why does having a disability or health issue make you more likely to face hunger?

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“I was sanctioned because I missed an appointment at the Job Centre.  I was severely depressed, and sometimes when I am like that I can’t leave the flat.  My electric has almost run out so I can’t heat water and I am having a light on as little as possible. I know the cause of my depression and anxiety but I can’t get any free counselling or help.”

Mick’s* account of his struggle to keep his benefits in payment is typical of many of those we hear at Exeter Foodbank.  Disclosing personal details to strangers, filling out complex paperwork or navigating call centre phone systems can be daunting for anyone.  For those, like Mick, who suffer from chronic mental health conditions, or have limited literacy and digital skills, it can be a Herculean step too far.  Many arrive at our foodbank’s doors in desperate circumstances, with nowhere else to turn. (more…)

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