Posts in '2019'

The longer Universal Credit exists in an area, the higher the need for food banks  

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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*

The Trussell Trust is urging the government to end the five week wait** for Universal Credit, as it publishes a new report revealing the longer the new benefits system has been rolled out in an area, the more people are plunged into poverty.

The charity highlights that while the Department for Work and Pensions has attempted to find solutions to issues with Universal Credit, the wait for a first benefit payment, which is often longer than five weeks, is continuing to cause unnecessary hardship. Government loans, which are currently offered during the wait, are also pushing more people into debt, the charity says.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“Universal Credit should be there to anchor any of us against the tides of poverty.  But the five week wait fatally undermines this principle, pushing people into debt, homelessness and destitution.

“In a society that believes in justice and compassion, this isn’t right. But it is something that can be fixed. Universal Credit was designed to have a wait. Now it’s clear that wait is five weeks too long, and we must change that design.

“The recent Spending Review was a lost opportunity to protect people on the lowest incomes.  Our Prime Minister must take action to end this wait, and help prevent thousands more of us being swept away by poverty. With the nation at a crossroads, now is the time to loosen the grip of poverty and make sure Universal Credit is able to protect people from needing a food bank, instead of pushing them to one.”

A similar pattern of financial hardship in areas where Universal Credit has rolled out is revealed by new evidence in the report from the Riverside Group, a large provider of social housing and homelessness services.

On average, people claiming Universal Credit at July 2019 had experienced a 42% increase in rent arrears since rollout began in 2015. By stark contrast, those claiming Housing Benefit (the previous ‘legacy’ benefits system) experienced a 20% decrease , analysis shows.

Hugh Owen, Director of Strategy and Public Affairs at Riverside said:

“Riverside is calling on the government to end the five week wait for Universal Credit because increasing numbers of our tenants are experiencing hardship while waiting for their first payment. Our data clearly shows that the wait is causing many of our tenants to get into rent arrears which can take months or even years to clear.

“A recent survey of many of our tenants told us that they are struggling to keep afloat when they move onto Universal Credit; the long wait means that many people are going without food or heating and they are forced to use foodbanks in order to feed their families. We welcome the simplicity that moving to an integrated benefit is intended to bring, but the way Universal Credit is being implemented means that instead of acting as a safety net, it is dragging people into debt.”

The #5WeeksTooLong study also reveals the detrimental impact the wait is having on people’s mental health. Many people reported experiencing high levels of anxiety, especially as they did not know how much they would receive and when. Some even reported feeling suicidal.

Mike had to resign from his work as a support worker to care for his mother who was diagnosed with a long-term disease. During this time he had to claim Universal Credit. He found that he could no longer manage to pay his rent after he took an Advance Payment:

“It’s made me go from being a confident lad who loved working with vulnerable people to ending up needing the support I used to offer others. Now I’m unable to support them or myself.”

The Trussell Trust and Riverside are not alone in issuing this stark warning. Through the #5WeeksTooLong campaign the Trussell Trust is united with 45 other organisations and more than 14,000 individuals, in urging the government to end the five week wait now.

 

Ends

Contact:

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

Notes to editor

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

* Overall percentage increase in food parcels provided in the 12, 18, and 24 months from when Universal Credit ‘goes live’ in the relevant local authority. Due to the gradual rollout of Universal Credit, sample sizes decrease: data covers 185, 101 and 37 food banks respectively.

** The initial wait for Universal Credit is built into the design of the new benefits system – each claimant moving onto Universal Credit must wait at least five weeks before receiving their first Universal Credit payment. While the wait was reduced from six to five weeks in February 2018 as a result of 2017 Budget changes, this is still a substantially longer wait than for legacy benefits, which is typically around two weeks.

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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The Spending Review: we respond

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Responding to the Spending Review on 4th September, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, Emma Revie, said:

“This Spending Review was a lost opportunity. As the country looks to the future, we need our Government to put policy ahead of politics. Increasing living costs, inadequate benefit levels, and the five week wait for Universal Credit are all leaving people without enough money in their pockets for the most basic costs. It’s no surprise we’re seeing the highest level of need for food banks ever.

“Our benefits system must be able to offer vital protection to people in uncertain times, yet there was little mention of how households on low incomes will stay afloat as Brexit unfolds. It was particularly disappointing to see no action on the five week wait for Universal Credit – we know this is pushing people to the doors of food banks.

“It’s not inevitable that food bank use will continue to increase – there are steps we can, and must, take as a country. First, our Government must end the five week wait for Universal Credit. More broadly, if we want our benefits system to be able to offer crucial support, we must also see benefit levels restored to make the cost of living affordable. These are things in our Government’s power to deliver – anchoring us all from the rising tide of poverty must be a priority.”

Ends

Contact

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

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

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 trusselltrust.org
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The five-week wait for Universal Credit is not fit for purpose in the private rented sector

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A blog post by
Jake McKey
Policy & Public Affairs Officer

As part of its campaign to reform Universal Credit, the National Landlords Association (NLA) is now working with the Trussell Trust to end the five-week wait.

Together, we’re issuing a stark warning to the Government that the policy is an unnecessary feature of a system pushing more and more families into debt and hunger, further damaging their chances of having a stable tenancy in the private rented sector (PRS).

Figures from the NLA highlight that arrears and debt are becoming part of the grim reality of private renting for Universal Credit tenants as 86 percent of landlords letting to tenants on Universal Credit experienced rent arrears in the last 12 months.

Not only is the frequency of rent arrears high, but our research has found that with such a high incidence, the average amount of rent arrears for tenants has progressively increased.

The average amount owed is now £2,105, but this increases dramatically for Universal Credit claimants, to £3,842.

When contrasted with the latest HomeLet rental index, which found the average UK rent now stands at £941, this means that Universal Credit tenants now owe on average over 4 months’ worth of rent arrears.

This far surpasses the minimum 2-month arrears for which tenants could be evicted under a section 8 notice for breach of contract. This is a situation in need of urgent change.

But the five-week wait and arrears are not the only factors for many landlords in the private rented sector.

Additional administrative failures and delays within the system compound the already lengthy five week wait, with the NLA having found some members dealing with tenants who have had to wait up to 12 weeks to receive payment.

In circumstances such as this, many claimants have no choice but to take out advances in order to support themselves, which leaves both landlords and tenants with no choice but to take on additional debt in order to cover their costs, resulting in a situation that works for no one.

Unsurprisingly, the resulting and enduring difficulties faced by both landlords and tenants have created a particularly negative culture change in the sector towards tenants receiving benefits.

With recent NLA research finding that only two in ten landlords would house tenants on Universal Credit, down from 35 percent in early 2013, and debt and poverty continuing a downward trajectory, the Government must take decisive action.

As well as the negative impact in a business sense, the five week wait and growing debt has the tangible human consequence of increased food bank usage and hunger.

Trussell Trust research shows a 52 percent average increase in food bank use in areas that have had Universal Credit for 12 months compared to 13percent in areas that have not. If hunger is to be ended in the UK, families must have enough money year-round and a vital component of this is resolving the longstanding issues within Universal Credit.

Together with the Trussell Trust, we’re calling on the Government to take action to create a system that works for tenants and landlords, including:

Ending the freeze on Housing Benefit rates. The lack of availability of social housing has meant many of the most vulnerable in society are seeking homes in the private rented sector, leaving them vulnerable to rising market rents with the level of benefits paid for housing frozen since 2016. This longstanding freeze has meant the housing element of Universal Credit is simply insufficient for many tenants to cover their rent, eating into costs for other essentials.

Tackling both intentional and unintentional delays and gaps in benefits. Alongside the built-in five-week wait, many administrative delays with processing claims further compound families’ ability to afford essentials. This has still not been treated as a priority by the Government and an inquiry into the internal workings of Universal Credit needs to be made in order to prevent further administrative delay.

This is why the NLA is joining the Trussell Trust and more than 40 other leading charities and organisations in supporting the #5WeeksTooLong campaign.

If the Government is serious about making Universal Credit a success and reversing the continuing negative trends born of poor policymaking and implementation, then it needs to take action and provide immediate relief for thousands of people and families across the UK by ending the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, the main driver of increased hunger and foodbank usage.

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Universal Credit: “It’s been a nightmare – I’m £2,000 in debt. I can’t get any more loans.”

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A blog post by
Emma Revie
Chief Executive  

Recently, the Trussell Trust partnered with single-parent charity Gingerbread as part of the #5WeeksTooLong campaign.

This campaign has been highlighting the changes Universal Credit needs to ensure proper support is in place for families with children.

The Government needs to fix issues with Universal Credit. There are a number of problems that must be addressed – the first priority must be to end the wait for a first benefit payment.

We’ve spoken to two mums working with Gingerbread to highlight the issues single parents can face – both are in work but need some support from our benefits system to keep their families afloat.

Instead, the problems they’ve encountered with Universal Credit have left them struggling to keep their heads above water.

Ayo, 29, London

Ayo is a single mum-of-one who works full-time in communications. When she came off maternity leave she had to apply for Universal Credit to help with childcare costs.

“I have to cover nursey fees which must be paid in advance and ended up paying three months fees without and being reimbursed by universal credit

“There were so many human errors. I was even told I wasn’t entitled to the childcare element of universal credit.

“After I eventually got a local MP involved, they addressed it, but I had endured several stressful calls – had to use food banks and was going to friend’s homes for food

“I kept being told staff were too busy to deal with my case and felt completely stressed out and unsupported. I have worked since I was young and paid my taxes which I thought was used to help the people who need it in society.

“Why should I pay taxes when I am not entitled to the help they’re meant to provide for people like me?”

Since Ayo’s case was looked into she gets a contribution of just £100 a month towards nursery fees.

“Because I make a fairly good wage I cannot be helped by any other charities, but nursery fees and rent costs are so high I have been left without money to afford food – I’ve been skipping breakfast and dinner so my daughter can eat. I’ve been in my overdraft and getting in debt.

“It’s pulled my confidence down. I feel scruffy at work as I cannot afford to keep up my maintenance.”

Shavishta, 26, Dorset

Shavishta is a single mum to a 4-year-old. Last November she got part-time work. The change meant she had to apply for Universal Credit.

Moving from the old benefits system to the new means she is left with far less than before –  just £120 a month after rent is paid.

In March she lost her job but she has been studying a science degree and is due to start work next week.

“I feel hopeless and have been put on anxiety medication. I’ve been surviving off just £120 a month, but then having to cover nursery too. It’s been a nightmare – I’m £2,000 in debt. I can’t get any more loans.

“When I first started Universal Credit I thought I’d be able to get more support but they don’t view further education as a means to progress.

“I want to work and get a good job but as a single parent it’s so tricky covering child care. I feel they (the system) don’t want me to succeed to get back into society. I’m just another statistic. I don’t feel supported at all.”

Women like Ayo and Shavishta are being trapped in poverty. If we want to help free people instead of locking them into further poverty, debt and hardship, we need to make sure Universal Credit can properly support people.

The first thing the Government’s must do is end the five week wait. It’s #5WeeksTooLong.

Agree this can change? Join us.

 

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Will the new government promise a ‘golden age’ for Universal Credit?

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A blog post by
Sumi Rabindrakumar
Head of Policy & Research 


Look closely, and there was a rare glimpse of continuity amongst the political upheaval of the past few days. In a break from the recent past, the Department for Work and Pensions managed to hold onto its Secretary of State as the new Prime Minister formed his Cabinet.

This presents a real opportunity for the future of our benefits system. We have a new Prime Minister who, on the campaign trail, declared that “the poorest come first” in his tax and spend priorities. We also have a Work and Pensions Secretary of State who has declared her commitment to making our new benefits system, Universal Credit, “work for everyone”.

Any vision for our future must include systems which protect us from hardship. Key to this will be Universal Credit, yet we know that problems with its implementation and design are still pulling people into hardship and debt.

The most urgent issue to address is the five week (minimum) wait for a first payment. The Trussell Trust has found a steadily increasing share of referrals due to benefit delays is driven by Universal Credit: the problem has not gone away. That’s why food banks across the country, a range of respected partners from across the charity and housing sectors, and around 15,000 public campaigners – many with direct experience of Universal Credit – have already joined together to call for change.

Encouragingly, there are emerging signs that the Secretary of State seems to agree. Amber Rudd has stated she wants people to get their payments sooner. When quizzed by the cross-party Work and Pensions Select Committee, it was positive to hear some of the work being done to review the waiting period.

But the fact remains that the wait persists.

Much has been made of future improvements such as further run-ons of DWP legacy benefits to shorten the wait. But this won’t be seen for another year (July 2020), doesn’t help people not receiving DWP benefits before moving onto UC and is a short-term fix – once legacy benefits end, there will be no further support.

This once again leaves Advance Payments  – effectively loans – as the only way to bridge the five week gap in income. It’s a policy that looks on increasingly shaky ground, with clear evidence of the hardship that repayments create for households already under strain. It can’t be right that the only alternative to having no income is to take on a debt.

In uncertain times, it’s difficult to say what will happen next on Universal Credit. But what is clear is that after months of people and organisations joining together and building pressure, there is some movement.

And with a raft of possible spending decisions on the horizon – whether it’s a 2019 Budget, emergency budget, future Spending Review, or general election – there are opportunities to get the investment needed to translate positive words into action.

The new Prime Minister has promised the “beginning of a new golden age”. Any new vision for our nation must include tackling the issues which pull so many of our families into poverty – a benefit system that is fit for purpose, work that is fair and pays and affordable living costs. Without this, people will continue to struggle to put food on the table and cover the rent.

Too often leaders have promised but failed to deliver. With the nation at a crossroads, now is the time for action; the five week wait for Universal Credit is a good place to start.

We know we won’t see change without continuing to build pressure. That’s why we want you to add your voice to tell our new Government that the Universal Credit wait is #5WeeksTooLong.

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Our new Prime Minister must work to protect us all from needing a food bank

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Following the announcement of Boris Johnson as the UK’s new Prime Minister, the Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“During the leadership campaign Boris Johnson told us “the poorest come first”. As our Prime Minister, he now has an opportunity to put those words into action and create a new vision for our country – one that unlocks people from poverty and protects us all from needing a food bank.

“Beyond Brexit, we have crucial choices to make about the kind of society we want to be. We must build a future that works for everyone – this means a benefits system that anchors people from being swept into poverty, work that is secure and fairly paid, and more affordable costs of living.

“In particular, we need Universal Credit to be the poverty-fighting reform that was intended. The most urgent problem to address is the five week wait for Universal Credit. More and more people are being pushed to the doors of food banks while waiting for a first payment. Our new Prime Minister can change this by ending the wait. At the heart of any plan for our country’s future must be a commitment to protect all of us from poverty.”

Ends

Contact:

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

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘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.

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 trusselltrust.org

 

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Universal Credit Uncovered: 9 weeks that show we must end the wait

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A blog post by
Tom Say
Campaigns Manager

Over the past nine weeks we’ve been working with a wide range of charities and organisations on #UniversalCreditUncovered, shining a spotlight on the reality of living under Universal Credit.

The support and unity we have experienced has been nothing short of staggering.

We have seen thousands of people come together as part of #5WeeksTooLong campaign, along with more than 40 organisations and food banks across the UK, to say enough is enough.

We will not accept the five week wait – and often longer – for a first payment under the  new benefits system. The Government’s ‘Advance Payments’ are supposed to help people through those five weeks but these loans are not the solution as paying them back causes more hardship later on.

#UniversalCreditUncovered started as a reaction to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launching newspaper advertorials to “myth-bust common inaccuracies” about Universal Credit. Front and back page ads appeared in the Metro newspaper, alongside features inside.

But as the weeks of the DWP ads wore on, the charity sector came together to ensure the voices of the thousands of people affected every day were heard.

People told us of the stress they have endured trying to keep their heads above water when they should have instead been anchored from poverty. We heard from people facing terminal illness, disabled people, homeless people, single mums and people with mental health issues. We heard how the wait has plunged people already on tight budgets, into debt and how so many had been driven to use food banks.

This is not right – but it can change.

Charities that have now called on the Government to end the five week wait as part of our #5WeeksTooLong campaign, include single parent charity Gingerbread, mental health charities Mind, homelessness charities like Centrepoint, housing associations like the Riverside Group.

More than 80 charities in the Disability Benefits Consortium, as well as Scope, MNDA Society and MS Society, have joined the campaign to talk about the impact on disabled people.

Women’s Aid, Refuge and the Women’s Budget Group have told us about how the wait affects domestic abuse survivors.

While debt charity StepChange explained why ‘advance payments’ lock people in debt and aren’t a solution to waiting for payments.

Of course our own network of food banks has also come together to highlight the issues people at food banks face.  As a result, we’ve seen countless news stories, opinion pieces and social media conversations about the five week wait. The cohesion we’ve seen and felt right across the sector has been phenomenal.

And it seems to be working. On Monday Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt vowed to scrap the five week wait if he becomes prime minister.

The Conservative leadership hopeful said Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd had “persuaded him” that change is needed to stop people falling into debt at the beginning of their swap to the new system.

This signifies that a shift could come soon, and shows the power and positivity of working together to create change. It has built the pressure needed if we are to see the long-term changes needed to help keep people afloat when they move onto Universal Credit.

But we cannot become complacent.

We must continue to hold the Government to account and ask them to listen to the many organisations and people that have joined #5WeeksTooLong. They must tackle the reasons why so many people waiting for Universal Credit are being forced to food banks.

Universal Credit is not the poverty-fighting benefit reform it was promised to be and we know the five-week wait for a first payment is one of the biggest issues people face when moving onto it.

This wait is five weeks too long – ending it must be the Government’s first priority. Agree? Join us.

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Welsh food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead

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New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 14% increase in emergency food parcels for children in Wales last summer

The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 4,137 food parcels went to children in Wales during the six weeks of the school summer holidays in 2018, a 14% increase on the same period in 2017.*

Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by Welsh food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network go to children, but there is extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families who are entitled to free school meals during term time.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in Wales. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year in Wales with a 15% total increase**, and it is expected this trend will continue, prompting concerns that this summer will be the Trussell Trust network’s busiest to date. Ahead of schools breaking up next week, the Trussell Trust is urging people check what items their local food bank is most in need of.

While these donations are vital for helping families during the next six weeks, the charity has stressed food banks are not a long-term solution, and more must be done to ensure people have enough money for essentials like food.

The Trussell Trust believes tackling delays and gaps in benefits, which affect families’ ability to afford essentials, should be treated as a priority by the Government. The most immediate relief for thousands of people would be to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, a key driver of need at food banks in the charity’s network.

While the charity welcomes schemes by the Welsh Government to mitigate the adverse financial impact of the school holidays on families, it believes more action needs to be taken to address the underlying causes of poverty.

Susan Lloyd-Selby, Wales Operations Manager for the Trussell Trust, explains:

“Food banks do all they can to help families in Wales over the summer and many run holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare. But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.

“Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year. Wales has the highest child poverty rates in the UK and if we are to end hunger in Wales, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, which would help eliminate the need for a food bank parcel altogether.

“While it’s great to see the Welsh Government committing funding to tackle holiday hunger through their School Holiday Enrichment Programme, food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term solution to poverty.”

Ends

Contact:

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

Notes to Editor

There are 111 food bank centres in the Trussell Trust’s network in Wales.

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘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.

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 trusselltrust.org

 

  Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2017 Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2018 % change 2017-2018
Wales Adults 6,199 7,300 17.8%
Children 3,634 4,137 13.8%
Total 9,833 11,437 16.3%

*Number of food parcels to adults and children for the school summer holidays in Wales (July 22 – August 31)

**Figures from Welsh food banks in the Trussell Trust network for 2018/19

Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network in Wales provided 113,373 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 40,793 of these supplies went to children.

 

 

 

 

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UK food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead

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New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 20% increase in emergency food parcels for children in the UK last summer

The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018, a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.*

Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network go to children, but there is extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families who are entitled to free school meals during term time.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in UK. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year with a 19% total increase**, and it is expected this trend will continue, prompting concerns that this summer will be the Trussell Trust network’s busiest to date.

Ahead of schools across England*** and Wales breaking up next week, the Trussell Trust is urging people check what items their local food bank is most in need of.

While these donations are vital for helping families during the next six weeks, the charity has stressed food banks are not a long-term solution, and more must be done to ensure people have enough money for essentials like food.

The Trussell Trust believes tackling delays and gaps in benefits, which affect families’ ability to afford essentials, should be treated as a priority by the Government. The most immediate relief for thousands of people would be to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, a key driver of need at food banks in the charity’s network.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays. But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.

“While it’s great to see schemes in place to tackle holiday hunger, food banks and other emergency food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term solution to poverty. Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year.

“If we are to end hunger in the UK, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage. Every family should have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living. No child should face going hungry in the UK.”

Ends

Contact:

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

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘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.

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 trusselltrust.org

 

*Number of food parcels to adults and children for the summer holidays in the UK

 

Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2017 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2018 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) % change 2017-2018

 

UK

Adults 128,918 151,700 17.7%
Children 73,226 87,496 19.5%
Total 202,144 239,196 18.3%

 

**Figures from food banks in the Trussell Trust network for 2018/19

 

  • Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust’s network provided 1,583,668 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 577,618 of these supplies went to children.
  • This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year, when 1,332,952 emergency supplies went to people in crisis; 484,026 of these went to children.

***Number of food parcels to adults and children for the 2018 school summer holidays in England (July 22 – August 31)

 

Region Adults Children Total Total % increase from 2017
South West 8,622 5,610 14,232 15.79%
South East 9,069 5,410 14,479 13.94%
North East 4,835 2,829 7,664 26.30%
North West 14,804 9,268 24,072 23.50%
London 10,682 6,166 16,848 25.88%
West Midlands 9,056 5,163 14,219 22.54%
East Midlands 4,726 2,832 7,558 12.02%
East 9,451 6,116 15,567 24.16%
Yorkshire & Humberside 6,091 3,753 9,844 14.49%

 

 

 

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Help people facing hunger in your community

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Asda stores across the UK are launching a week-long food drive today to help support their local food banks ahead of the school holidays.

Customers will be encouraged to donate much-needed supplies which will go to their local food banks, by donating items such as tinned goods and hygiene products in a trolley at the front of the store.

Every summer, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network report an increase in demand for emergency food for children over the summer holidays due to the extra financial pressure put on families who rely on free school meals during term time. This high demand often causes many food banks to distribute more food than is donated, which leaves them short of food supplies.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 1.6 million emergency food parcels were distributed which is a 19% rise year on year and it is expected that this trend will continue into the summer.

Andy Murray, Chief Customer Officer for Asda said:

“We already have permanent food collection points in store and encourage our customers to donate what they can, but over the next week we’re really trying to increase the number of donations as we go into the summer holidays, when food banks sadly see such an increase in demand from families.

“Our customers and colleagues are always very generous and I want to thank them for supporting our Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme, which will make a difference in their local community, as well as on a larger scale as we continue to help people out of poverty.”

Emma Revie, CEO of the Trussell Trust said:

“No one should face going hungry at any time of year. Work is already underway as part of the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership to help us campaign for change and work towards a future where no one needs a food bank.

“While we work in the long term to tackle the structural issues that lock people in poverty, food banks in our network need your help this summer. Your generous donations will make such a difference at a time when food banks see a squeeze on the stock levels of food they have to offer people. The food you donate will help make sure families referred this summer receive vital support at exactly the time when it’s most needed.”

The drive is part of Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change programme, a three-year, £20m partnership between the supermarket, anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust, and food redistribution charity FareShare. The partnership will enable FareShare to double their capacity, meaning more food can reach those in need, while supporting the Trussell Trust to provide even more support to people referred to food banks and work towards a future without food banks through better research into the drivers of poverty.

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