Posts in 'Press Releases'

Almost half of people at food banks have money taken by government from benefit payments during economic crisis

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  • The Trussell Trust says 47% of households surveyed at food banks during the summer owed money to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) due to loans and overpayments of benefits – this is compared to 37% at the start of the year before the pandemic hit
  • Almost three out of four households on Universal Credit at food banks over the summer were repaying an advance payment to the government, a loan primarily taken out to cover the five-week wait for a first payment
  • The charity is urging the government to stop taking money from people’s pockets through the winter months until a more just system is put in place
  • You can help by joining the fight for a Hunger Free Future and by tweeting the DWP Minister to ask for these deductions to be paused this winter.

The Trussell Trust has published a new report Lift the Burden revealing that one in two households at food banks (47%), already struggling to make ends meet, face the stress of having money deducted from their benefits payments by the government.

The charity says 73% of households on Universal Credit at food banks over the summer were repaying an advance payment to the government. Advance payments are largely taken out by people  to cover the five-week wait for a first payment. This is because everyone who applies for Universal Credit must wait at least five weeks for their money to start coming through – the government offers people a one-off payment to cover this wait, but that payment must be paid back.

Paying back an advance payment, or repaying an overpayment after a system error, makes it harder for people to afford the essentials and can affect people’s mental health. More than half of households (53%) at food banks where someone was living with mental health problems reported they owed money to the government through a loan. This compares to 30% of households which did not report anyone with mental health problems.

The charity is urging the government to stop taking money from people’s pockets through the winter months until a more responsible and just system is put in place. This should help bring government debt collection closer to that practised in the private sector which has improved its practice significantly, assessing people’s ability to pay before recovering debts.

It is also urging everyone to help end the need for food banks by joining its Hunger Free Future campaign.

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said:

“Our welfare system should increase people’s security, not suffering. But right now, the government is taking money from the benefit payments of many people using food banks. Taking money off payments to repay these debts makes it much harder for people to afford the essentials and can impact on people’s mental health – this isn’t okay.

“With the pandemic continuing to hit people’s incomes, the government must pause taking money from benefit payments over the winter months until a more responsible and just system that offers security and support is in place. This would help people on the lowest incomes to keep every penny of their benefits to help afford the absolute essentials, instead of needing to turn to a food bank for help.

“We need change this Christmas to create a system that works for everyone. That’s why we’re also calling on everyone to help end the need for food banks by joining our campaign to create a Hunger Free Future.”

You can help ensure people keep their benefit payments by tweeting the DWP Minister who can pause these deductions this winter, and by joining our fight for a Hunger Free Future.

ENDS

 

Contact 

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

Notes to editors:

Heriot-Watt University surveyed 435 adults aged 18+ that needed to use a food bank across Trussell Trust food banks in Great Britain between 22nd June and 31st July 2020. The survey found:

  • 47% of people surveyed said that they or their partner currently owed money to the DWP because of a loan such as a benefit advance or budgeting loan.
  • 73% of people in receipt of universal credit (259 adults aged 18+) said that their or their partner’s income was currently being deducted to repay Universal Credit advance payments

Mental health: 53% of people that said that someone in their household was living with mental health problems reported they owed money to the DWP through a loan. This compares to 30% of people who did not report anyone in their household with mental health problems. People were asked whether anyone in their household had any health problems such as anxiety, stress, depression or any other mental health problems.

Earlier in the year Heriot-Watt University surveyed 716 adults aged 18+ that needed to use a food bank across the Trussell Trust network in Great Britain – between mid-January and early March 2020. The survey found:

  • 37% of people surveyed said that they or their partner currently owed money to the DWP because of a loan such as a benefit advance or budgeting loan.
  • 51% of people in receipt of universal credit (411 adults aged 18+) said that their or their partners income was currently being deducted to repay Universal Credit advance payments

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 1,300 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/
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.
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2,600 food parcels provided for children every day in first six months of the pandemic

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 2,600 food parcels provided for children every day in first six months of the pandemic  

  • Food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK network saw a shocking 47% increase in need during the crisis, building on record need experienced during the same period last year
  • The charity warns these figures are the tip of the iceberg, as many people will have been helped by other community groups
  • Welcome steps have been taken by the UK government but longer-term action is needed, and the Trussell Trust is calling for people to join the campaign to build a Hunger Free Future

New figures released today reveal 2,600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network during the first six months of the pandemic. 

More than 1.2 million emergency food parcels were given to people struggling to afford essentials by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network between 1st April and 30th September 2020, making it the busiest ever half-year period for food banksover 470,000 of these parcels went to children.  

While the figures highlight the level of need across the UK, the charity warns their new figures do not include the number of people helped by the countless new community organisations, independent food banks and local authoritieswhich have stepped up during the pandemic to support their communities. 

The Trussell Trust is asking anyone who wants to ‘end the injustice of people needing food banks’ to join the campaign for a Hunger Free Future.

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

“Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money. Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials. But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning. And it’s hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England. This vital local support must work in coordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.

“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other. It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, the government responds. Together, we can build a hunger free future.”

The Trussell Trust has welcomed recent steps made by the government to prevent people from falling into destitution – including the announcement of the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme for England which is an important boost for local welfare assistance the charity has campaigned for.  

But the charity is concerned that food banks in its network may still see high levels of need over the winter and beyond – particularly as redundancies recently hit a record highdoubling since the previous quarter. It’s asking the government to ensure money is kept in the pockets of people who need it most by: 

  • Locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit, brought in at the start of the pandemic, and making sure that people currently excluded, such as people receiving payments through the legacy system, get this money too  
  • Helping people hold on to more of their benefits by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced 

ENDS   

Contact     

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]   

Notes to editors   

  • Between 1st April 2020 and 30st September 2020, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network provided 1,239,399 emergency parcels to people in crisis. 470,854 of these parcels went to children. 
  • These parcels were distributed by over 1,350 distribution centres operating in 295 local authority areas in the UK.  
  • This is a 47% increase on the same period last year, when 843,655 emergency supplies were provided to people in crisis. 309,090 of these supplies went to children. 
  • During this period in 2020, on average 2,573 emergency parcels were distributed to children every day.  
  • The top three reasons for someone being referred to a food bank in the Trussell Trust’s network during April to September were low income (47%), benefit delays (9%) and sickness/ill-health (6%)  
  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: this typically is a three-day parcel containing emergency food for one person. During the crisis food banks have also been distributing seven-day parcels. For this release the Trussell Trust have simply combined both three-day and seven-day parcels together to report the total number of emergency food parcels that were distributed. 
  • The increase in the total volume of food given out to support people therefore outstrips the number of parcels distributed. In comparison to the same period in 2019 there was a 59 per cent increase in the total weight of food distributed 
  • These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals.  
  • 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 network and not to the hundreds of independent food banks. Research from the Independent Food Aid Network shows there are at least 946 independent food banks, with many other organisations also distributing emergency food during the pandemic.  
  • Redundancies increased by a record 181,000 between Q2 2020 and Q3 2020, a 138% increase. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/november2020  

 

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 1,300 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/   
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.  
  • You can read more about our work at trusselltrust.org 
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Pears Foundation grants £1 million to help get money into pockets of people at food banks

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As part of their ongoing partnership with the Trussell Trust, Pears Foundation has announced a £1 million grant to the charity which supports a network of food banks across the UK. The funds, to be provided over the next five years, will focus on tackling destitution by raising people’s incomes. This will include the provision of high-quality benefits advice made freely available for people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network. 

As the full impact of Covid-19 continues to unfold, latest research by the Trussell Trust forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December – this equates to six emergency food parcels given out every minute.

The anti-poverty charity warns that with mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early nineties, there will be further rises in poverty with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food. This is on top of year-on-year rises in the number of people unable to afford food and forced to food banks across the UK.

Pears Foundation has been a long-term partner of the Trussell Trust and this transformational five-year grant will allow the charity to roll out of a national programme of specialist benefits advice, creating sustainable services that meet local need and help make sure people have the money they need.

Pears Foundation has previously supported a Child Poverty Action Group income maximisation pilot based at a food bank in Tower Hamlets. This demonstrated the positive impact welfare rights and benefits advice can have; over the course of eight years, the project returned a total of £4.2m to 1,512 clients.

This new partnership aims to enable half of all food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network to have implemented an income maximisation programme in the next five years. This will include building a financial resilience team, providing signposting training for volunteers, a grant programme to fund services and data capture and advocacy.

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

“We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of people needing help from food banks for the first time as the impact of coronavirus has hit people’s incomes. This isn’t right. But thanks to the longstanding support of the Pears Foundation, over many years, we’ve been able to weather the storm of the pandemic and move forward with renewed confidence in supporting our network of food banks during these uncertain times.  

“Ultimately no one should ever need to use a food bank. By making sure that people struggling to afford food are getting as much income as possible, projects funded by this grant will not only help people at the point of crisis but will also make it less likely that someone will need a food bank in the future. We can become a country where everyone has enough money for essentials.”  

Sir Trevor Pears CMG, executive chair of the Pears Foundation, said: 

“We are delighted to continue and deepen our Foundation’s decade long partnership with the Trussell Trust. We fully support the Trust’s new Income Maximisation strategy and their increasing focus on ending the need for food banks. Having funded the successful Tower Hamlets pilot we are very pleased to back the Trust as they roll out this approach on a national basis. I look forward to continuing to work with Emma and the team at Trussell Trust over the coming five years to help thousands of people facing severe financial hardship.”

 

ENDS

 

Contact 

 

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

 

Notes to editors

 

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/
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.
  • You can read more about our work at org

 

About the Pears Foundation:

The Pears Foundation is an independent family foundation rooted in Jewish values. Led by the Pears family with the support of a full-time professional team, Pears Foundation’s activities are focused on understanding complex issues, engaging people in achieving social progress and promoting wellbeing. Pears Foundation invests around £20million annually in a wide range of charitable organisations and causes, building long-term relationships with grantees to help them achieve their goals. As well as providing core funding to the Trussell Trust’s food bank network since 2007, Pears Foundation supported a pilot advice project in Tower Hamlets Foodbank in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group, and now provides unrestricted core funding for Child Poverty Action Group.

 

www.pearsfoundation.org.uk

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New report reveals how coronavirus has affected food bank use

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New research shows food banks are forecast to give out six emergency food parcels a minute this winter.

  • The Trussell Trust’s new analysis forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December – six parcels given out every minute
  • During the start of the pandemic around half of people who used a food bank had never needed one before
  • Families with children have been hardest hit
  • The charity is clear the situation can be turned around if this evidence is prioritised and acted upon by government during the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and budget

Today the Trussell Trust has released a report Lockdown, Lifelines and the Long Haul Ahead revealing how coronavirus has affected food bank use, with a huge rise in people needing to usa food bank in its network for the first time. The Trussell Trust’s records also show that families with children are being hit the hardest during the crisis. 

Analysis carried out by Heriot-Watt University with support from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that if changes aren’t made this autumn, there is likely to be a 61% rise in need at food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network this winter, equating to 846,000 food parcels being given out. 

The charity warns that with mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early ninetiesthere will be further rises in poverty with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food. This is otop of year-on-year rises in the number of people unable to afford food and forced to food banks across the UK 

But the situation can be turned around, the charity saysThe government response to protect jobs and incomes during this pandemic has shown what a difference can be made when support structures are put in place. The much-needed rises to some benefit levels and the job retention scheme prevented many more people from facing destitution. But the charity warns that with these schemes set to endthe government must act now to ensure we are all protected. 

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

“Communities throughout the country have shown enormous resilience in helping more people than ever before. But food banks and other community charities cannot continue to pick up the pieces. None of us should need a charity’s help to put food on the table.

“Our research finds that Covid-19 has led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time. This is not right. If we don’t take action now, there will be further catastrophic rises in poverty in the future.”

“But it doesn’t have to be like this. The pandemic has exposed the power of what happens when we stand together in the face of adversity. We must harness this power to create the changes needed to prevent many more people being locked into poverty this winter. With the furlough scheme set to wind down, we must act now to put in place protection for each other. The Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review present a pivotal opportunity to put things right. We must take it to help us weather the storm left in the wake of Covid-19.”

The charity says there should be no higher priority than preserving the lifelines that have saved many of us from destitution through this pandemic. It points to this autumn’s budget and Comprehensive Spending Review as an opportunity to: 

  • Protect people’s incomes by locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit brought in at the start of the pandemic  
  • Help people hold on to more of their benefits through the economic crisis by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced 
  • Make local safety nets as strong as possible by investing £250m in local welfare assistance in England 

 

ENDS 

 

Contact    

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected] 

 

Notes to editors 

  1. On behalf of the Trussell Trust, the I-SPHERE team at Heriot-Watt University have modelled future levels of need for food banks. Their findings estimate that 846,000 three-day emergency food parcels are likely to be distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK wide network in the last quarter of 2020.  
  2. This represents at least an extra 300,000 on the same period in 2019 when 524,000 were distributed.  
  3. With 846,000 parcels estimated to be distributed, on average across this period 6.38 three-day emergency food parcels a minute will be given out 
  4. I-SPHERE have also estimated the total number of additional people that will be swept into destitution because of the economic crisis. People are defined as destitute if they cannot afford essentials such as shelter, food, heating, lighting, clothing and footwear, and basic toiletries. For more information on destitution please go here: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/destitution-uk-2018 
  5. Their estimates show 672,905 additional people falling into destitution in the UK by the end of 2020.  
  6. For more information on the modelling approach please contact the Trussell Trust media team who will provide you with the full report.  
  7. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) supported this project, with their economic forecasts forming the basis for some of the assumptions in the modelling carried out by I-SPHERE. They have produced their own independent estimates of future need which are contained within the full report.  
  8. During the crisis the Trussell Trust’s administrative data shows that households with children have been hit the hardest. There was a 95 per cent increase in parcels given out to households with children in April 2020, compared to April 2019. Single people (41%) and couples (79%) saw lower percentage increases.  
  9. The Trussell Trust’s administrative data shows that over half (52%) of households that needed support from a food bank in the Trussell Trust’s network in April 2020 had not used a food bank in the network previously. This represents close to one hundred thousand new households (99,300 April – June 2020) 
  10. The Trussell Trust reported a year on year increase of 18 per cent between 2018/19 and 2019/20. https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/  
  11. NIESR’s August review forecasts that the ILO rate of unemployment in the UK will reach 9.8 per cent in the last quart of 2020. The ONS’s time series on ILO unemployment 16-64 highlights that it has not reached that level since April – June 1994. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/timeseries/lf2q/lms  

 

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/ 
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks. 
  • You can read more about our work at trusselltrust.org 

 

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UK food banks report busiest month ever, as coalition urgently calls for funding to get money into people’s pockets quickly during pandemic

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  • The Trussell Trust reports a soaring  89% increase in need for emergency food parcels during April 2020 compared to the same month last year, including a 107% rise in parcels given to children
  • The number of families with children receiving parcels has almost doubled compared to the same period last year
  • Food banks in the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) report a 175% increase in need for the same period
  • A coalition of charities, including Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), The Children’s Society, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us, is calling for funding for local authorities in England to ensure grants are quickly distributed to help people stay afloat as part of a temporary Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme

As the impact of coronavirus continues to unfold, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network are reporting their busiest month ever, with an 89% increase in emergency food parcels given to people across the UK in April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

The figures include a 107% increase in parcels going to children compared to last year. The number of families with children receiving parcels has almost doubled compared to the same period last year.* Independent food banks are seeing similar increases, with IFAN reporting a 175% increase in need for emergency food parcels given out in the UK during April 2020 compared to the same month last year. **

A coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us, is urging the government to act quickly in providing a stronger lifeline to people to prevent many from being swept into destitution.

Measures brought in by the government, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and changes aimed specifically at people on low incomes, have helped some people stay afloat. But these new figures warn far more people are needing food banks’ help than this time last year, with little sign of slowing. With these schemes set to wind down over the coming months and other measures proving to be insufficient, the charities say further action is urgently needed to ensure no one is left behind during this crisis.

The coalition says a first step should be to make sure local authorities in England have enough funding to provide emergency cash grants so money can be put directly into people’s pockets quickly. An increase in funding to local authorities in England would help bring the government response on this type of support closer to that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This is one part of a temporary Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Schemeproposed by the coalition to ensure everyone has enough money in their pockets for essentials during this crisis. The scheme would include:

  • Increasing benefits that go to families to help with the costs of raising children
  • Extending the suspension of benefit deductions to include advance payments – the loans offered to cover the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment
  • Lifting the benefit cap to ensure this support scheme benefits everyone

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie says:

“We have been seeing rises in food bank need for the past five years but this 89% increase – with the number of families coming to food banks doubling – is completely unprecedented and not right. People need to be able to put food on their table. The government must put urgent support in place to ensure people already struggling to keep their heads above water can stay afloat. We have outlined what we need our government to do – it’s in our power to protect one another, we’ve seen it during this health crisis, and we need it to continue during this economic one.”

Coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network Sabine Goodwin says:

“Our food bank figures paint a grim picture of what is unfolding across the UK and the numbers of people having to resort to emergency food parcels to survive. But the solution to the escalating food insecurity crisis has never been the provision of charitable food aid. Everyone needs to be able to afford to buy food and the bare essentials. Our joint call details how this can start to be achieved and we urge the Government to act swiftly and decisively to reverse this devastating trend.”

Child Poverty Action Group ‘s chief executive Alison Garnham says:

“Today’s figures are grim. No parent wants to depend on charity to feed their own child but it is clear that food banks are becoming the only option for a growing number of families whose finances have all but collapsed because of Covid-19. Struggle is turning to real hardship. The Government has quickly put in place unprecedented and very welcome schemes to support family finances in the wake of Covid-19, but too many households are falling through the gaps. An uplift in children’s benefits should be the priority now to shield children from poverty and its lifelong effects.”

Chief executive at The Children’s Society Mark Russell says:

“It’s a tragedy that double the number of families are having to rely on food banks to feed their children, and a situation which could be prevented with more action to stop children from going hungry.

“The Children’s Society wants to see significant extra investment in local welfare assistance so councils can provide much needed emergency support. We recently found more than half of councils (63%) were forced to reduce spending on these schemes between 2015 and 2019 yet more people than ever need the help they can provide.

“No child should face destitution as a result of this pandemic. The Government must step up and protect vulnerable children and families.”

Policy and partnerships manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation JRF Iain Porter says:

“It’s just not right that the number of families turning to food banks continues to climb so steeply. We all want to help each other weather this storm, but these figures show the government support provided so far is still not providing a lifeline to families in crisis who are not able to afford the essentials.

“As a rapid first step, increasing funding to councils for emergency cash grants would provide a lifeline to those most at risk of hardship. Alongside this, we need emergency investment in the social security system, such as targeted benefits to families with children, to prevent more families from reaching crisis point as we continue to weather the storm.”

Welfare benefit expert at Turn2us Anna Stevenson says:

“Food banks do a fantastic job getting immediate practical support to people in their communities, however it shouldn’t be left to charities to do the job our social security safety net should be doing.

“The coronavirus has affected so many of us financially, this must be the catalyst for the government to build upon the steps it has already taken to make sure everyone can afford to put food on the table and not just survive, but be able to thrive.”

 

ENDS

 

Contact 

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

Contact the Independent Food Aid Network at 07971-010-991 or [email protected]

Notes to editors

  1. There has been an 89% increase in emergency food parcels distributed from food banks, including a 107% rise in parcels given to children. There has been a 95% increase in the number of parcels going to families with children.
  2. The figures are based on data provided by 351 of the 425 food bank charities in the Trussell Trust network. These food banks represent 82% of those in the network and, in normal times, they feed 82% of those who need a Trussell Trust food bank.
  3. The food banks have not been weighted to be demographically or geographically representative, but at least 80% of the food banks from each nation are included.
  4. Comparisons are made between weeks 14-18 2019 (1 April – 5 May) and weeks 14-18 2020 (30 March – 3 May)
  5. The figures are significantly above the normal year on year increases we generally see across the network. Our latest yearly increase data from April 2018 – March 2019 showed a 19% increase: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/
  6. 48% of the increase in emergency food distributed from food banks is due to people reporting a fall in income from work or benefits. 11% is because of sickness.
  7. April 2020 data was collected up until 5pm 22nd May 2020. The 351 food banks included in the analysis are those who were able to confirm data completion by this date.
  8. County level breakdowns of this data are not available but figures for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are available on request.
  9. More information on the data here.
  10. **IFAN reports a 175% increase for emergency food parcels from independent food banks in its network.
  11. The figures are based on data provided by 112 organisations running 213 independent food banks.
  12. Comparisons have been made with figures collated from April 2019 and April 2020.
  13. Further data is available covering February and March 2019 and February and March 2020.
  14. Differences between IFAN and Trussell Trust figures may be because of different referral mechanisms, increases in the size of parcels distributed, the size of the data sets analysed and the different areas that the networks cover.
  15. Further information and a full report is available by contacting Sabine Goodwin at IFAN.

 

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/
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.
  • You can read more about our work at  www.trusselltrust.org

 

About the Independent Food Aid Network:

  • The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) connects, supports and advocates on behalf of a range of over 300 independent frontline food aid organisations. Its membership includes 259 organisations operating 346 independent food banks regularly distributing emergency food parcels at least once a week. IFAN’s vision is of a country which doesn’t need emergency food aid and in which good food is accessible to all.
  • IFAN has been responsible for identifying at least 859 independent food banks operating across the UK. We know as a result that at least 40% of UK food banks operate independently of the Trussell Trust’s network of over 1,200 food banks. In March 2019 and January 2020, IFAN published food parcel distribution figures alongside A Menu for Change collated from independent food banks in Scotland almost doubling Trussell Trust figures. In December 2019, IFAN published the first report of a study led by Dr Rachel Loopstra on independent food banks operating outside of the Trussell Trust network in England.

 

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Food banks report record spike in need as coalition of anti-poverty charities call for strong lifeline to be thrown to anyone who needs it

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  • The Trussell Trust reports a soaring 81% increase for emergency food parcels from food banks in its network during the last two weeks of March 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 – including a 122% rise in parcels given to children, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold1
  • Food banks in the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) report an average 59% increase in need from February to March. That is 17 times higher than this time last year2
  • A coalition of charities, including Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us, is calling for a temporary Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme to ensure people facing financial hardship can access the resources needed to stay afloat

The Trussell Trust reports its network’s busiest ever period, with 81% more emergency food parcels being given out across the UK, including 122% more parcels going to children, compared to the same period in 2019.3  The data shows people struggling with the amount of income they were receiving from working or benefits as the main reason for the increase in need.

IFAN has also reported a record level of need with an average 59% increase from February to March 2020. That is 17 times higher than this time last year.

Food banks are working to continue providing emergency food safely to people who cannot afford to buy the essentials, despite this unparalleled surge in demand – but warn they cannot continue to pick up the pieces.

A coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us is now urging the government to strengthen the anchor it has already put in place to help protect many people from being swept into destitution as more than 1.8 million people apply for Universal Credit in recent weeks4.

The coalition credits the government for a series of significant measures swiftly brought in, recognising the Coronavirus Jobs Retention scheme and additional investment in Universal Credit and the Local Housing Allowance, as huge boosts.

But the coalition warns these changes are unlikely to offer a strong enough lifeline to people in light of the new economic crisis faced. With demand for emergency food parcels already soaring over the past five years and research showing that household’s referred to food banks are on average, left with just £50 per week after housing costs,2 the coalition is urging the government to build on its work so far and make the changes needed to ensure each and every one of us has enough money for essentials.

To help the nation weather the storm of this pandemic the coalition is urgently calling on the government to provide a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme that supports individuals and families who are already facing or at serious risk of financial hardship. It also calls on the government to work with charities in the anti-poverty sector to develop this scheme and ensure it can be put in place quickly, treats everyone with dignity, and leaves no-one behind.

The coalition proposes this temporary package to include measures such as:

  • Increasing benefits that go to families to help with the costs of raising children
  • Extending the suspension of benefit deductions to cover advance payments – these are often taken to cover the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment
  • Lifting the benefit cap and two-child policy to ensure this support scheme benefits everyone
  • Ensuring local authorities in England can provide effective crisis support to individuals and families

Read the coalition’s joint letter to the Chancellor here.

Read more detail about the Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme here.

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie says:

“The last few weeks have shown we must come together to protect each other against the unexpected. Like a tidal wave gathering pace, an economic crisis is sweeping towards us – but we don’t all have lifeboats. It’s not right that this has meant some of us don’t have enough money for essentials and are being pushed to food banks. Now is the time to build on the foundations our government has laid. We need emergency measures to ensure people can makes ends meet during this crisis. We have the power to come together as a country and make sure support is there to stop any of us being swept into poverty during this emergency.”

Coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network Sabine Goodwin says:

“Independent food bank teams in our network are also seeing steep rises in need for emergency food parcels as the consequences of COVID-19 take hold. They are doing all they can to support people unable to afford to buy food for themselves. But the escalating food insecurity crisis is avoidable. The solution is not in trying to distribute more food parcels but in providing sufficient income to the huge numbers of people impacted by this crisis and the poverty that preceded it.”

Chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham says:

“We all want a safety net that can bring families through tough times but today’s figures show we no longer have that in the UK.  Instead when a crisis strikes, we have more and more children in food banks. That isn’t right. The government made a good start with its Covid-19 financial support measures but as today’s figures show, we need targeted support for children if we are to shield them from poverty. Raising the level of all benefits for children would be the most effective way of getting support to families quickly. It’s our moral responsibility to make that investment – because no child should be reliant on charitable food packages.”

 Chief executive of The Children’s Society Mark Russell said: 

“These figures are a stark indication of just how many more families are facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus and it is clear more must be done. The Children’s Society wants to see more money being put into local welfare assistance schemes. Our research found 1 in 7 councils are no longer providing crisis support, yet we have learned more and more people are turning to their local authorities for help.

“We want the government to give councils the investment they need, so they can be there to help during these unprecedented times and far beyond. Without it even more families will have nowhere to turn and could end up facing hunger, extreme poverty and even destitution.”

Acting director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Helen Barnard says:

“It’s simply not right that so many more people are having to turn to food banks because they are unable to meet their basic costs. We all want to help each other weather this storm, but families with children are being particularly hard hit and do not have the lifeline they need to stay afloat. Millions already caught up in poverty face deepening hardship, whilst many more risk being pulled into poverty alongside them.

“It’s vital that our social security system can act as an anchor in tough times, and keep people afloat when they need it most. While the government has introduced some additional measures, many people are still not getting the support they need to weather this storm. Temporarily boosting support to families with children would provide a lifeline to those most at risk of hardship.”

StepChange chief executive Phil Andrew says:

“These shocking figures lay bare the toll this crisis is taking on the most vulnerable in our society. StepChange’s services saw record demand over the same period, with advice on how to access emergency financial relief among the most regularly sought. Clearly, financially vulnerable people are already struggling to keep up with payments and avoid hardship and help announced from creditors, local authorities and government is vital but only short term and not always adequate. Household finances are likely to lag behind any future economic recovery without a longer term plan in place, which is why it’s crucial we see continuing development of the government’s current rescue package to ensure the benefits system provides meaningful support to those falling through its gaps.”

Chief executive at Turn2us Thomas Lawson says:

“Food banks across the country have been providing critical support to people in the face of the growing income crisis that we are experiencing as a country. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated this and is driving even more people into financial crisis.

“Our own recent survey shows that one in every eight people cannot afford enough food to feed themselves. Their family incomes are only going to continue to drop.

“Food banks are vital, now more than ever, but we need to remember that they are not a long-term solution to the problem. They can only ever be a sticking plaster to tackle destitution – a situation as a wealthy country we must not tolerate. 

“What people need is a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme, so they have the income they need to put food on the table. The government must make the safety net catch everyone who falls into hardship.  Anyone who slips through is a damning indictment of our society.”

ENDS

Contact 

 

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected] 

Contact the Independent Food Aid Network at 07971-010-991 or [email protected]

 

Notes to editors:

  1. There has been an 81% increase for emergency food from food banks, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children
  • The figures are based on data provided by 303 of the 425 food bank charities in the Trussell Trust network. These food banks represent 71% of the total network and 70% of people that are provided packages.
  • Comparisons are between the last two weeks of March 2019 and March 2020 (w/c 18 March and 25 March 2019, and w/c 16 March and 23 March 2020)
  • The figures are significantly above the normal year on year increases we generally see across the network. Our latest yearly increase data from April 2018 – March 2019 showed a 19% increase: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/
  • 59% of the increase in emergency food distributed from food banks is due to people reporting a fall in income from work or benefits. 12% is because of sickness.
  • March 2020 data was collected up until 5pm 21 April 2020. The 303 foodbanks included in the analysis are those who were able to confirm data completion by this date.

 

  1. The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reports that in 2019, the average monthly rise in food bank use from February to March was just 3.41%; in 2020, the average monthly rise was over 17 times higher at 59.3%.
  • Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK and subsequent lockdown, IFAN ran a survey among its member organisations to track how food parcel distribution has changed since 2019.
  • Data was collected for February and March 2019 and February and March 2020 from 85 organisations running 147 independent food banks.
  • For further information and to read the full report please contact IFAN

 

  1. The demand for emergency food parcels has soared over the last five years, and research shows that household’s referred to food banks are on average, left with just £50 per week after housing costs

 

  1. In the six weeks to 12 April 2020, the DWP received over 1.8 million declarations to Universal Credit. This is almost five times higher than the amount of declarations received from individuals in the same period last year.

 

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 www.trusselltrust.org 

 

About the Independent Food Aid Network:

  • The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) connects, supports and advocates on behalf of a range of over 300 independent frontline food aid organisations. Its membership includes 252 organisations operating 320 independent food banks regularly distributing emergency food parcels at least once a week.
  • IFAN has been responsible for identifying at least 842 independent food banks operating across the UK. We know as a result that at least 40% of UK food banks operate independently of the Trussell Trust’s network of over 1,200 food banks. In March 2019 and January 2020, IFAN published food parcel distribution figures alongside A Menu for Change collated from independent food banks in Scotland almost doubling Trussell Trust figures. In December 2019, IFAN published the first report of a study led by Dr Rachel Loopstra on independent food banks operating outside of the Trussell Trust network in England.
  • IFAN’s vision is of a country which doesn’t need emergency food aid and in which good food is accessible to all. During the COVID-19 crisis IFAN has been supporting its members in particular as they struggle to source food while trying to support increasing numbers of people in need. IFAN has also been calling for the Government to introduce measures involving a “cash first” approach to urgently address economic vulnerability that would see the footfall to food banks reduced.

 

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XTX Markets donates £1 million to the Trussell Trust to support food banks during coronavirus pandemic

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Following donations of more than £20 million last week to help charities fighting the effects of Covid-19, XTX Markets has announced this week they are donating a further £1 million to the Trussell Trust, a charity which supports a network of food banks across the UK.

 Last year, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided 1.6m emergency food parcels to people in crisis. More than half a million of these went to children. The charity has warned more people are likely to need a food bank’s help support as a result of the outbreak – especially those who aren’t eligible for sick pay or have unstable jobs.

Wherever possible, food banks are continuing to provide emergency support to people in their community in the safest way possible. Food banks have had to make significant changes to the way they work in order to protect the health of everyone at the food bank – whether that’s people who need the food bank, people volunteering, or people donating.

This donation will support the Trussell Trust in its work to support food banks in any way needed during this time of uncertainty and challenge, helping get emergency food to people who can’t afford it in the safest way possible. The UK-wide charity is providing daily guidance to help food banks adapt the way they work, recruiting volunteers and developing ways for food banks to deliver food bank parcels to people’s homes. Throughout the pandemic, the network is also being given constant access to support through a front-line field team and food bank helpline.

XTX Markets commented:

“The coronavirus is having a devastating effect on those people in crisis and their ability to source food and the Trussell Trust is playing a vital role in getting food supplies to people that need it most during these difficult times. We are proud to be supporting the great work they are doing.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“The generous donation from XTX Markets means we can remain agile to respond to the fast-changing situation and ensure food banks continue to provide the lifeline of emergency food and additional support for people in crisis. It’s incredible to see that alongside supporting food banks, XTX Markets are providing much needed support to frontline services including the NHS. At the Trussell Trust, we are seeing the very best of society and a desire to help one another, and this donation will make a significant difference to our ability to respond to the current crisis. We thank them for encouraging others to support frontline services through this crisis.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

  • ‘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

For more information, please contact:

XTX Markets:

Tim Moxon

Head of Marketing/Communications

[email protected]

 

For the Trussell Trust:

Please contact our press office on [email protected]

 

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 org

 

About XTX Markets

XTX Markets is a leading electronic market-maker which partners with counterparties, exchanges and e-trading venues globally to provide liquidity in the Equity, FX, Fixed Income and Commodity markets. It is headquartered in London with offices in Paris, New York, Mumbai and Singapore and has 140 employees globally. XTX is the largest Spot FX liquidity provider globally (Euromoney 2019) and also the largest European equities (systematic internaliser) liquidity provider (Rosenblatt 2019). www.xtxmarkets.com

 

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Liam Payne helps provide 360,000 meals to people struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

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  • Liam Payne has joined forces with national charity the Trussell Trust to support food banks in the Midlands and other key cities as they expect to see an increased need as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This support will help over 100 food bank centres in Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Sheffield, Nottingham and Bristol continue to provide their essential community service for people in crisis.
  • It’s expected that these food banks will provide over 360,000 meals to people in crisis over the next three months, as the pandemic unfolds
  • Liam Payne’s donation is the beginning of a long term relationship with the Trussell Trust which will see him use his platform to continue to reach new audiences and raise awareness.

Singer-songwriter Liam Payne is supporting the Trussell Trust, a charity that works with a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK, to help support people struggling in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last year, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided 1.6m emergency food parcels to people in crisis. More than half a million of these went to children.

The charity has warned more people are likely to need a food bank’s help support as a result of the outbreak – especially those who aren’t eligible for sick pay or have unstable jobs.

Wherever possible, food banks are continuing to provide emergency support to people in their community in the safest way possible. Food banks have had to make significant changes to the way they work in order to protect the health of everyone at the food bank – whether that’s people who need the food bank, people volunteering, or people donating.

Liam’s support will enable the Trussell Trust to launch a crisis fund for food banks in cities in his home region of the Midlands and other key cities across the UK, helping local food banks meet the expected increased need in the coming months.

Over the next three months, food banks that could benefit from Liam’s support are expected to provide over 120,000 meals to people in crisis. This new fund will help over 100 food bank centres to react to the changing needs of their community as the pandemic unfolds; recruiting additional staff, hiring delivery vehicles or extra space, or, if necessary and available, buying food. Ultimately, helping these food banks continue to provide their essential community service for people in crisis.

Liam said,

“It’s not right that anyone in our country is unable to afford food. Food banks do incredible work to help the people most in need of support. It’s vital that we get support to those people right now, as this crisis unfolds. The Trussell Trust is working with food banks across the country to ensure emergency help is there for people who don’t have money for the basics.

“But I’m also donating because of the work they do to work towards a future where no one needs a food bank – we can’t end the conversation with getting emergency food to people – as vital as that is. When we’re out the other side of this, we need to look at why there are people in our country who don’t have enough money for food. I want to play my part in finding a solution to ensure people have enough money to buy their own food – and end the need for food banks.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“We are so grateful to Liam for this generous donation. This will help us continue to support our network of food banks to provide the best possible emergency help to people referred at an uncertain time. We’re working with food banks across the country to make big changes to the way food banks work, so we can get emergency food to people in the safest way possible. This isn’t easy. Our main priority is the safety of everyone at a food bank, and having support like this helps us ensure that emergency support can continue to be available in the safest possible way. But ultimately, no one should need to use a food bank. Everyone should be able to afford their own food. Liam’s support will help people in the Midlands and other key cities get the emergency support they need today, while working towards a future where people have enough money for the essentials in life.”

Here's how you can help

You can make a donation by clicking on the button below. If you’re able to support food banks during these unprecedented times, it will make a real impact on the lives of people in crisis.

We’re doing all we can to support food banks at this time. Your support makes a real difference, and we’re grateful for your generosity in this time of uncertainty.

Please support your local food bank by checking what items are most needed, and donating those if you are able to.

You can find what food banks near you are in need of by using the search box below:

In association with  Give Food.

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Asda donates £5m to food banks & community charities to help people through COVID-19

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Asda donates £5 million to food banks and community charities as well as extending accessible hours for NHS workers and offering additional support to colleagues.  

Asda has announced it will be donating £5 million to its partners FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people through COVID-19.

The extensive package of measures will provide over 4 million meals to families in poverty impacted by Coronavirus as well as giving more than 3000 charities the ability to access free food over the next three months as they fight to tackle the impacts of Coronavirus in their communities.

The donation from the supermarket also will help the networks of the two charities as they experience a huge increase in demand over the coming months, as more vulnerable people turn to food banks for help through COVID-19.

Asda is also investing in the logistics and support services that will allow FareShare and the Trussell Trust to support families through the crisis, including funding for telephone, and online and food delivery systems for people unable to afford food, as well as supporting the recruitment of 20,000 volunteers to support food banks.

The funding will also continue the work of the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership between Asda and the two charities by helping tackle the root causes of poverty through supporting 800,000 people over the next year with access to income maximisation services for people at food banks.

CEO Roger Burnley comments; “These are the most extraordinary of times and I am keenly aware of our responsibility to help feed the nation – both by keeping our shelves stocked and deliveries moving – but also by providing employment opportunities where we can and supporting our charity partners to help the most vulnerable in our communities. The efforts my colleagues are going to support our customers every day are fantastic, and we will continue to recognise their efforts wherever we can. I also want to thank our amazing customers who continue to donate to our food bank trollies and who continue to think of others, even in such worrying times.”

Asda has already confirmed that it is working to recruit more than 5000 people into temporary roles from industries impacted by the crisis – helping to ensure people are kept in jobs and wage cost pressures are lifted from struggling companies.

Asda colleagues are working around the clock to keep shelves filled for customers and have been told this week that they will receive full pay should the need to self-isolate as a result of coronavirus symptoms. Today, Asda’s store and distribution colleagues who do not need to self-isolate were told they will receive an additional weeks pay in June as a thank you for their efforts.

Asda has also confirmed that it will be prioritising NHS workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9am.

To protect colleagues, as well as following Government advice on hygiene practice, Asda is also asking that where possible customers use card and contactless payment method in order to reduce the amount of cash colleagues are handling.

Burnley concluded“We all have a clear responsibility to look after each other during this crisis, particularly our most vulnerable groups. I was heartened to see how our customers respected this priority access and so am proud to be able to extend it to more regular days and also include our amazing NHS colleagues can access our stores with a little more ease.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust: 

“Food banks face an unprecedented challenge in the coming months. As the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, more people are likely to need emergency food at exactly the same time as fewer volunteers are able to help. The resilience of food banks is nothing short of outstanding, and we’re working closely with our network to help ensure that wherever possible, people unable to afford the essentials can access help. But this is not easy. That’s why this support from Asda will make such a difference.

“This funding will help us recruit and train new food bank volunteers across the UK, and support the coordination of packing and delivering pre-made food parcels to people who need a food bank’s help, but can’t leave their homes. Protecting people from hunger cannot fall to food banks alone, and we’ll be continuing to push for crucial changes that get money into the pockets of people who most need it – while that work is underway, Asda’s support will help us ensure the safety of everyone who needs a food bank during the pandemic.”

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare said;

“In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 crisis, we are immensely grateful to our partner Asda for their incredible support of £5 million. This will aid FareShare to adapt its models to reach the 1m vulnerable people who we currently serve and work with our network of frontline charities to achieve the vital doorstep food deliveries and new food distribution methods we know are so essential at this time.”

Ends

 

 

 

 

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Budget 2020: our response

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The Chancellor announced a number of changes to our benefits system in today’s Budget. The full details of these are available here.

The Trussell Trust was encouraged to see the changes focused on protecting people’s incomes – such as the £500m hardship fund for local authorities.

It is also encouraging to see the changes in deductions to Universal Credit, which mean the amounts needing to be paid back will be reduced to 25% of a claimant’s standard allowance, and repayment of advances will take place over 24 months instead of just 12. We would like to see these measures brought forward from their planned start date, October 2021.

This is a step in the right direction, but there is more to be done to ensure that Universal Credit payments are enough for everyone to afford the absolute essentials.

Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, Emma Revie, explains:

“The Chancellor is right when he says that coronavirus represents an unprecedented challenge for the UK, and to introduce measures to strengthen the safety net for the most vulnerable people. We welcome the extra financial support announced, particularly the £500m hardship fund for local councils, which can play a key role in anchoring us all from poverty.

“But as coronavirus unfolds, more people could need this safety net than ever before – especially those who aren’t eligible for sick pay or have unstable jobs. For many of these people the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment could cause real hardship, despite measures announced in today’s Budget. We know the five-week wait is already pushing people to food banks, trapping many in debt and making issues with housing, ill health, disability and domestic abuse worse.

“In his statement, the Chancellor said that he will continue to review the situation. As more people look likely to move onto Universal Credit as a result of the outbreak, the most effective way to help would be to end the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment by giving people grants, rather than loans that have to be paid back further down the line. We can prevent more people being locked into poverty as the outbreak develops by ending the wait now.”

Ends

 

Contact

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

 

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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