Posts in '2019'

How corporate volunteers make a difference

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Pierrette, who works in finance for Delta Air Lines, has volunteered with the Trussell Trust multiple times as part of her workplace’s corporate volunteering programme. Here, she explains why she thinks it’s so important.

Volunteering opportunities are definitely part of Delta’s company culture – we’re encouraged to volunteer as much as we can, and I’ve volunteered with the Trussell Trust three times now.

Volunteering at the food bank is such a great experience. The people who work there are so lovely. They do a lot for their community every day and are so appreciative of any help they can get – it’s really humbling to see that. Hopefully, the work we did will be helpful to the food bank and the people they support.

I think it’s important to contribute to society, and I hope a lot of other people feel the same. I think we take a lot of what we have for granted, while there are so many people out there who need help and support, and it’s important to give our time back.

We all might find ourselves in a situation where we need extra help, so it’s important to make sure the system of support is there when someone needs it. And it starts with each of us finding the time to be there for each other.

 

Volunteers like Pierrette play a vital role in supporting people in crisis. Without them, the food banks in our network couldn’t provide the services they do and many thousands of people would go hungry.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the Trussell Trust, check out our volunteering pages now and get in touch. You could work in one of our offices or charity shops, sort food in a food bank warehouse, help out at a food bank, and much more.

We’re committed to ensuring that all of our volunteers feel welcomed, valued, and respected. We are hugely grateful to everyone who volunteers for the Trussell Trust and for the food banks in our network. Together, we are making great progress in the fight to end the need for food banks in the UK – and you can help too.

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Steepest increase in people needing food banks for past 5 years as need soars by 23%

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As the General Election nears, the Trussell Trust is calling for politicians of all parties to pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics. The charity reports more people than ever before are being forced to food banks, with more than 820,000 emergency food parcels given out in the past six months.

New data released today shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. During the six months, 823,145 three-day emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis in the UK; more than a third of these (301,653) went to children.

This is a 23% increase on the same period in 2018 – the sharpest rate of increase the charity has seen for the past five years.

The main reasons for people needing emergency food are low benefit income (36%), and delays (18%) or changes (16%) to benefits being paid.

The new figures come just a week after the Trussell Trust released State of Hunger, the most in-depth study ever published into hunger and the drivers of food bank use in the UK. The research revealed:

  • The average weekly income of households at food banks is only £50 after paying rent
  • One in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food
  • 94% of people at food banks are destitute

State of Hunger shows there are three drivers hitting people simultaneously and leaving no protection from hunger and poverty. These drivers are problems with the benefits system, ill health or challenging life experiences, and a lack of local support.

One of the key issues people at food banks face is the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment. Although Universal Credit is not the only benefit payment people at food banks experience problems with, the majority (65%) of food bank referrals made in April – Sept 2019 due to a delay in benefits being paid in the UK were linked to Universal Credit.

At the moment, people moving onto the government’s new benefits system have to wait at least five weeks – and often longer – with no money. People can get offered an Advance Payment, but this is a loan that must be paid back, often forcing people into debt.

As the election nears, the Trussell Trust is calling for politicians on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics.  It is asking the next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by:

  1. Ending the five week wait for Universal Credit
  2. Ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living
  3. Investing in local emergency support for people in crisis

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

 “More people than ever before are being forced to food banks’ doors. Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty, but currently thousands of women, men and children are not receiving sufficient protection from destitution.

 “This is not right. But we know this situation can be fixed – our benefits system could be the key to unlocking people from poverty. This General Election, all political parties must pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics. We want our next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit; ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living; and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.

“Together, these three changes will put money back into the pockets of people who most need our support. It’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks. This can change.”

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Contact:

Contact The Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to Editor:

The Trussell Trust’s statistics:

  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: three days’ emergency food for one person. These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals. Recent analysis shows on average people need around two food bank referrals in a year. More information about the way this data is gathered and what it can and can’t show here.
  • Between 1st April 2019 and 31st September 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust’s network provided 823,145 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 301,653 of these supplies went to children.
  • This is a 23% increase on the same period in 2018, when 668,678 emergency supplies went to people in crisis; 237,708 of these went to children.
  • Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK, because figures relate to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and not to the hundreds of independent food banks. There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in the Trussell Trust’s network across the UK – research from the Independent Food Aid Network shows there are at least 817 independent food banks, so the Trussell Trust network accounts for roughly two-thirds of all food banks.
  • The Independent Food Aid Network and A Menu for Change recently published data on the number of emergency food parcels distributed by independent food banks in Scotland which almost doubles the scale shown by figures from the Trussell Trust network – more detail here.

About The Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that supports a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK.
  • It takes more than food to end hunger. The Trussell Trust therefore does three things: supports its network to provide emergency food to people referred; helps food banks to provide on-site additional help or signpost people to relevant local charities to resolve the cause of referral; and brings together the experiences of hundreds of communities on the front line to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for long-term change so we can see a future without the need for food banks.
  • Read more at trusselltrust.org
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Help end the need for food banks this Christmas

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Christmas is only a few weeks away. No doubt lots of people are already looking forward to the festive season, thinking about their Christmas dinner or what gifts to buy their families.

Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy and celebration – but for too many people it’s becoming increasingly difficult, with more people than ever expected to need to use a food bank during the festive period.

The food banks in our network work incredibly hard throughout the year to make sure that people in crisis get support. Christmas is often their busiest time, and you can help make sure that they have the supplies they need to meet this increased need.

Christmas is a time for giving and sharing – and having fun! Challenging yourself to some festive fundraising is a great way to get together with friends, family or colleagues and raise money for a great cause at the same time. Whatever your age, whatever you enjoy doing, there’s a way for you to help. Check out some of our fundraising ideas and make your Christmas even more special by supporting our work to help us end the need for food banks in the UK.

  1. Sign a Star This Christmas: Wish your friends and colleagues a Happy Christmas by signing on a star this Christmas with our special post and donating to the Trussell Trust. Email fundraising@trusselltrust.org to request your electronic copy today!
  2. Hold an Elf auction: Be a helping hand for the day, morning, or afternoon, offer your services as a present wrapper, or auction a home-cooked meal.
  3. Christmas Angels: Ask your colleagues to bring in a photo of themselves as a baby and pay a small entry fee to join the competition to guess who these bundles of joy are now!
  4. Golden Cracker: If you’re heading out for a Christmas party, ask everyone to purchase a Christmas cracker. Put a special small gift in one of the crackers – no matter who gets the prize, everyone’s a winner as they’re all making a donation to the Trussell Trust.
  5. Desk decorating competition: Add some festive cheer to your office and have a little competition to see who can create the best winter wonderland at their desk.
  6. Secret Santa: Instead of spending £10 on a gift, why not limit your team’s purchases to £5 this year and donate the extra to the Trussell Trust?
  7. Cook up a (snow)storm: Whether it’s a gingerbread man competition, festive bake off, or mince pie madness, have fun while fundraising with a festive bake sale.

Once you’ve chosen your idea, plan your fundraiser – remember that Christmas is a busy time of year, so even the simplest activities might need some planning! Let people know about your event with posters in your office, social media posts, or personal invitations and then have fun!

When you’ve collected your money, you can pay it in at www.justgiving.com/campaign/christmascommunity2019. If you’d prefer, you can give us a ring on 01722 580 180, or post your check and any sponsorship forms you used.

You can also text ‘2019CHRISTMASCARD’ to 70450 to donate £2. This costs £2 plus a standard message rate. All donations sent through JustGiving or text come directly to us.

Need more inspiration, have a question, or simply want to find out more? Email fundraising@trusselltrust.org or call 01722 580 180. We’d love to see photos of your festive fundraisers so join #TeamTrussell on social media!

Whether you’re donating, fundraising, or taking part in an event, you’re helping us to continue our fight to end the need for food banks in the UK.

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Why does the Trussell Trust work with supermarkets?

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We work with food banks in thousands of communities across the UK – all providing vital help to people who would otherwise face hunger. No one should need a food bank, but while the rising tides of poverty continue to sweep people away, we will work with food banks to ensure people who need help can access emergency food and practical, compassionate support.

In order to provide that help while it’s needed, food banks need food donations. Many groups, including schools, churches, local businesses and other community groups, support their local food bank to ensure help is there for local people. We know individuals also want to make a difference in their community, and donating in a supermarket while doing a shop is one of the quickest, easiest ways for people to help.

By partnering with supermarkets at a national level, we’re able to harness more support for individual food banks at a local level while also raising awareness of our work to ensure the best possible help is available to people referred to a food bank. For example, where supermarket stores have permanent boxes installed, their customers can donate regularly, ensuring there’s a continual stream and variety of donated food to food banks in the network;  and the grants available to food banks thanks to our work with Asda have helped ensure the right help is there at the right time, by funding things like welfare advisors to sit in food bank centres and support people at the point of crisis.

Our work with supermarkets goes beyond practical support for people at food banks though.  We’ll always work to ensure that through our partnerships people referred to food banks are given the best possible support while that help is needed, but we will never compromise our mission to end the need for food banks.

Everything we do is underpinned by our work to challenge the structural issues that lock people into poverty. For example our partnership with Asda has already funded the first phase of State of Hunger, the most in-depth research to date into hunger in the UK. This research will act as a benchmark not just for us, but for government and wider society to better understand the structural issues that sweep so many people into poverty and destitution.

We think it’s important to be able to sit around a table with all of our partners, whether they’re a supermarket or another business, and have frank conversations driven by data and insight from our network about why people need food banks and how we can all work together to bring about change.

We know that most people (86%) forced to use a food bank are not in-work. However, we also have a duty to people who are in-work and struggling to afford the basics to understand what is driving the need for a food bank. We’re currently developing our work in this area, with the help of other charities that have more experience working with the private sector to prevent people from being locked into poverty.

We’ll be sharing our data with an expert charity partner to look into why working people need food banks – and then we’ll be drawing on their know-how to talk with government, businesses and communities about why people need food banks, and how we can work together to change things for the better.

There’s a part for everyone to play so we can reach a future without the need for food banks: government, communities and businesses all need to be working towards a future where everyone has enough money for a decent standard of living if we’re going to get there.

It’s not right that 1.6 million emergency food parcels were given to people by food banks in our network last year. We know this can change – but we need everyone to play their part.

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Do working people need food banks?

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You’ve probably heard the news stories – nurses needing food banks, teachers needing food banks, police officers needing food banks.

Every so often we get asked how many nurses, teachers and workers in other sectors use food banks, so we wanted to write about what evidence our network has about working people needing help from a food bank.

Everyone who comes to a food bank in our network is referred with a red voucher from a professional who partners with the food bank – such as a Citizens Advice worker, health visitor or children’s centre.  These professionals ask people some questions to gather basic information so the food bank can provide the right support for people in the household.

From this information, and other detailed research we’ve commissioned, we know the majority of people (86%) at food banks are not in work and are referred after experiencing an issue with the benefits system – therefore a lot of our research and campaigning work is focused on tackling these problems and preventing people needing food banks as a result of them.

1 in 7 people at food banks are in employment, or live with someone who is – the majority of that work is part-time.  We know many people at food banks are single parents or have a health issue – two things that not only put particular pressure on budgets so make people more likely to need food banks, but also make it harder to access the work place, and stay in it.

The overwhelming numbers of people experiencing problems with the benefits system have meant we’ve had to prioritise our work in this area. But we’re not just an organisation that could look at what is driving people with employment to need food banks – as a national network of food banks campaigning for change, we believe we have a responsibility to do so.

We’re currently developing our work on why some working people need food banks, with the help of other charities that have more experience working with the private sector to prevent people from being locked into poverty.  We’ll be sharing our data with an expert charity partner to look into why working people need food banks – and then we’ll be drawing on their know-how to have frank conversations with government, businesses and communities about why people need food banks and what needs to change.

There’s a part for everyone to play so we can reach a future without the need for food banks: government, communities and businesses all need to be working towards a future where everyone has enough money for a decent standard of living if we’re going to get there.

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The Advertising Standards Authority have ruled on the DWP ‘myth-busting’ Universal Credit ads

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s regulator of advertising, has ruled the Department for Work & Pensions series of ‘myth-busting’ ads about Universal Credit earlier this summer were misleading.

To highlight the reality faced by many people waiting for Universal Credit, the Trussell Trust launched its own ‘Universal Credit Uncovered’ project with partner organisations involved in the #5WeeksTooLong campaign, calling for an end to the five week wait for Universal Credit.

The ruling comes the day after the Trussell Trust published State of Hunger, the most authoritative, independent research into the drivers of hunger in the UK to date. The disproportionate number of Universal Credit claimants among people referred food banks led researchers at Heriot-Watt to conclude: ‘there is something in the make-up of Universal Credit that drives food bank use, in comparison to other benefits’.

As a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium, which made an official complaint to the ASA, the Trussell Trust was pleased to stand alongside other charities which made complaints, including Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said:

“The DWP’s adverts were misleading, and distracted from the urgent change we need to prevent more people being plunged into poverty. It’s disappointing that the UK’s regulator of advertising had to get involved in the first place.

“This ruling is confirmation that the DWP cannot easily gloss over the realities of Universal Credit, particularly the five week wait for a first payment. The Trussell Trust and countless other organisations have highlighted Universal Credit issues consistently. What we need now, as the country heads into an election, is a pledge from politicians on all sides to protect people from hunger by making sure everyone has enough money for the basics. We must start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit; ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living; and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.

“Together, these three changes will put money back into the pockets of people who most need our support. It’s not right that anyone has to walk through the doors of a food bank in the UK. But it’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks – this can change.”

Ends

Contact

Contact the Trussell Trust media team at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to Editor

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/

You can read more about our work at www.trusselltrust.org

 

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State of Hunger 2019: what’s driving hunger in the UK?

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Dr Filip Sosenko from Heriot-Watt University explains how the team conducted the landmark report, State of Hunger 2019.

Commissioned by the Trussell Trust and building on the earlier work of Dr Rachel Loopstra and colleagues, the State of Hunger research project delivered its first annual report today.[1] Methodologically the most wide-ranging and robust inquiry into drivers of hunger in the country so far, this 3-year study is being carried out by a team from Heriot-Watt University who specialise in researching severe poverty.

From the start, the study has been designed to be about hunger rather than only about food bank use. We know that there are individuals and families who go hungry but who do not use food banks. Findings from year 1 of the project measured the size of the gap: between food insecurity and food bank use. Around 8-10% of households in the UK are estimated to have been as moderately or severely food insecure in recent years,[2] while 1-2% used a food bank in 2018/19.

The study found that people at risk of being food insecure – people who are on a low income, unemployed, living alone or as lone parents, renting, and in poor health – are also over-represented among food bank users. Importantly, while we found that being younger is a risk factor for food insecurity, young people are not over-represented among food bank users, suggesting that many young people do not access help from food banks even when they are short of food. As for households with children, around 11% of children under 16 live in food insecure households (that’s 1.4 million children) and around 36% of food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks go to children.

The study has found that people at food banks have extremely low incomes, with average equivalised household income of just £7 per day after paying rent, and nearly all being destitute on a nationally recognised definition. This evidence counters claims by some public figures that people at food banks can manage perfectly well financially and choose to use food banks in order to take advantage of freely available food.

Crucially, the study has found evidence that food bank use is driven by the interaction of three factors: the structure of the benefit system, challenging life experiences (such as eviction or divorce) and lack of informal support. While the contribution of the benefit system in driving food bank use has already received much coverage, the study also provides more detail on the other two factors.

A comprehensive survey of over 1,100 people referred to Trussell Trust food banks revealed however that the vast majority of them experienced a challenging life event in the year prior to the survey, and/or lived in households affected by ill health. Both the statistical analysis of the survey results and qualitative interviews further showed that adverse life events and ill health have a potential to compromise one’s ability to do paid work, to claim benefits, or to increase living costs. The survey also found that the vast majority of people referred to food banks have either exhausted help from family or friends, had a resource-poor social network or were socially isolated.

The State of Hunger team’s statistical modelling indicated that the increased supply of food banks only partly explains the dramatic rise in the number of food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust in the past eight years. Five benefit-related factors in particular have also been driving this demand: PIP assessments, ‘bedroom tax’, benefit sanctions, the roll-out of Universal Credit and the benefit freeze. In subsequent years of the study further insights on the specific factors driving demand may be gained as another year of data become available.

The study will continue to investigate the scale and nature of hunger in the UK for two more years, with the next major report scheduled for Autumn 2020.

You can read more about the findings at https://www.stateofhunger.org/

 


 

[1] For details of the pilot study see Loopstra, R. & Lalor D. (2017) Financial insecurity, food insecurity, and disability, Online: The Trussell Trust.

[2] I.e. they reported not being able to afford a balanced diet, skipping meals, under-eating or going hungry in the 12 months before being asked. See Chapter 2 of the report.

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‘Locked in extreme poverty’: landmark research shows households at food banks have only £50 a week to live on

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Commissioned by the Trussell Trust and conducted by Heriot-Watt University, State of Hunger 2019 is the most authoritative piece of independent research into hunger in the UK to date. It reveals the average weekly income of people at food banks is only £50 after paying rent,* and almost one in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food.

  • 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 people at food banks are single parents – compared to 5% in the UK population**
  • More than three-quarters of people referred to food banks were in arrears

The first annual report of a three-year long research project, it shows definitively for the first time the three drivers hitting people simultaneously and leaving no protection from hunger and poverty. These drivers are problems with the benefits system, ill health and challenging life experiences, and a lack of local support.

The most common source of income for people at food banks is the benefits system. Problems with benefits are widespread, affecting two-thirds of people at food banks in the last year. 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. Statistical modelling shows the positive impact an increase in the value of benefits could have, estimating that a £1 increase in the weekly value of main benefits could lead to 84 fewer food parcels a year in a typical local authority.***

The majority of people referred to food banks also experienced a challenging life event, such as an eviction or household breakdown, in the year prior to using the food bank. Such events may increase living costs and make it harder to maintain paid work or to successfully claim benefits.

Particular groups of people are more likely to need a food bank. One risk factor is being a single mother – 22% of people at food banks are single parents, the majority of which are women.

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. Ill health often increases living costs and may be a barrier to doing paid work.

Amanda explained to researchers that £130 of her £138 fortnightly benefit payment for a health condition goes to paying arrears, leaving her with only £8:

“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.”

The study also found that the vast majority of people at food banks have either exhausted support from family or friends, were socially isolated, or had family and friends who were not in a financial position to help.

Chief Executive Emma Revie says,

“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?

“Many of us are being left without enough money to cover the most basic costs. We cannot let this continue in our country. This can change – our benefits system could be the key to unlocking people from poverty if our government steps up and makes the changes needed. How we treat each other when life is hard speaks volumes about us as a nation. We can do better than this.”

The Trussell Trust is calling for three key changes as a priority to protect people from hunger:

  1. As an urgent priority, end the five week wait for Universal Credit
  2. Benefit payments must cover the true cost of living
  3. Funding for councils to provide local crisis support should be ring-fenced and increased

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Contact

Contact the Trussell Trust media team at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to Editor

The key findings and full report can be read here.

Conducted by Heriot-Watt University, State of Hunger is a three-year research project commissioned by the Trussell Trust to provide a robust evidence base about who in the UK is affected by hunger, what the causes are, and how it can be alleviated.

This report outlines the findings of the first year of data gathering, and analysis includes a survey of agencies referring to food banks; statistical modelling of the drivers of food bank use; and the experiences and views of more than 1,100 people referred to 42 food banks (10% of in the Trussell Trust’s network).

* The median weekly equivalised household income after housing costs (AHC) was in the region of £50 and the monthly equivalent was £215. Three-quarters of respondents provided income and housing costs data.

 

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Largest ever poll into poverty shows nine in 10 Brits think hunger is a problem in the UK, says the Trussell Trust

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YouGov survey, commissioned by the Trussell Trust, of 12,000 people across the UK finds:

  • 90% of the UK public believes everyone should be able to afford to buy enough food
  • Yet 87% consider hunger to be a problem in the UK
  • 15% have had direct experience of living in poverty
  • 85% agree that someone could be in work but still in poverty in the UK
  • 66% believe poverty has got worse in the last five years, 75% say gap between rich and poor is worse and 70% say the ability to afford the cost of essentials has worsened
  • 51% of Brits think food banks are an embarrassment to this country and 70% agree they should not exist in modern society
  • The majority of those survey (55%) agree the government is most responsible for addressing hunger in the UK
  • 61% agree that most people living in poverty in the UK today are in this situation because of government policies or actions

Nine out of 10 people in the UK believe everyone should be able to afford to buy enough food, yet 59% of the British public believes hunger could affect someone they know, a nationally representative survey of more than 12,000 people shows.*

The findings from the Trussell Trust highlight how affected the UK population is by poverty, with almost half (47%) of Brits saying poverty is one of the most important issues facing the country right now.

The survey also revealed how deeply the UK public holds the values of compassion and justice, and the extent to which they act on them. Half of the public has taken action to address hunger and its causes in the last 12 months, with more than a third donating food to a food bank.

The top reasons given for taking action were ‘it’s not right that anyone should go hungry’ and ‘everybody should be treated fairly’, with 85% agreeing ensuring everyone has enough money for basic needs should be a high priority for society.

This individual action is underpinned by a belief that hunger in the UK can be ended. 73% believe that hunger in the UK can be ended, and 55% said the government is most responsible for addressing the issue.

Last year food banks in the Trussell Trust network provided 1.6m emergency food parcels to people in crisis. Data from the Trussell Trust’s food bank network shows the main reasons for people needing emergency food in the past year were benefit payments consistently not covering the cost of living, and delays or changes to benefits being paid. Recent research found the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment in particular is causing unnecessary hardship at food banks.

The charity is therefore urging the government to deliver the change the UK public wants to see by ensuring the benefits system is able to anchor people from poverty. It says the first priority should be ending the five week wait for Universal Credit. It also urges that benefit levels be restored to ensure they reflect the true cost of living and money is put into local welfare support, so people have somewhere to turn in a financial crisis.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, explains:

“This is a clear call to action from people across the UK. Individuals, driven by compassion and justice, are doing what they can to help people facing hunger, but they want to see things change. It’s now time for our government to do its part, and ensure these strongly-held values are lived out in policies that anchor people from poverty.

“It’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks. To reach that future, we need to make sure everyone has enough money for the essentials. Ensuring our benefits system can anchor people from the rising tide of poverty would make the biggest difference.”

Ends

Contact

Contact The Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to Editor

*The findings come from a nationally representative YouGov survey of 12,103 adults in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The data shows 3% of UK adults have been directly referred to a food bank, and 3% live in a household which has received food from a food bank.

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/

You can read more about our work at www.trusselltrust.org

 

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Labour announces it will halve food bank usage within a year: we respond

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Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, has announced that the next Labour government will halve food bank usage within its first year of office.

Last week, the Trussell Trust released a new report showing in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out for at least a year, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network have seen a 30% increase in demand. In  areas with the new system for at least 18 months this jumps to 40%, and increases again to 48% for food banks in areas with Universal Credit for at least two years.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said:

“No one in the UK should need a food bank. We should all have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living, and any sign of our country’s politicians committing to end the need for food banks is welcome.  

“We know we can reach a future where no one needs a food bank – but if we’re to get there, we need our government and political parties on all sides to recognise the poverty that is pushing more and more people to the doors of food banks.

“The evidence from food banks in our network is clear: hunger in the UK is not about food, it’s about not having enough money for essentials. Any approach to end the need for food banks must focus on ensuring our benefits system anchors people from the rising tide of poverty, tackling high costs of living and making sure work pays. The first priority must be to end the five week wait for Universal Credit.”

Ends

Contact:

Contact The Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to editor

Our new report, #5WeeksTooLong: why we need to end the wait for Universal Credit, can be accessed here.

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats
  • You can read more about our work at www.trusselltrust.org
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