Posts in 'Press Releases'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

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

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

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

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Contact:

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

Notes to Editor:

The Trussell Trust’s statistics:

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

About The Trussell Trust:

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

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

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

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

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

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said:

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

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

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

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Contact

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

Notes to Editor

About the Trussell Trust:

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

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

 

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

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

  • 94% of people at food banks are destitute
  • Almost three-quarters of people at food banks live in households affected by ill-health or disability
  • 22% of people at food banks are single parents – compared to 5% in the UK population**
  • More than three-quarters of people referred to food banks were in arrears

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

The most common source of income for people at food banks is the benefits system. Problems with benefits are widespread, affecting two-thirds of people at food banks in the last year. Key benefits problems highlighted by the research are: a reduction in the value of benefit payments, being turned down for disability benefits, being sanctioned, and delays in payments like the five week wait for Universal Credit. Statistical modelling shows the positive impact an increase in the value of benefits could have, estimating that a £1 increase in the weekly value of main benefits could lead to 84 fewer food parcels a year in a typical local authority.***

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

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

Almost three-quarters of people at food banks have a health issue, or live with someone who does. More than half of people at food banks live in households affected by a mental health problem, with anxiety and depression the most common. A quarter of people live in households where someone has a long-term physical condition; one in six has a physical disability; and one in 10 has a learning disability, or live with someone who does. Ill health often increases living costs and may be a barrier to doing paid work.

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

“If I don’t pay my bills, then I’ll get the house taken off me. After paying arrears, I’ve got £8 a fortnight and that’s to pay for gas, electric, water. So it’s just impossible, it really is. I go to bed at night wishing I never wake up in the morning.”

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

Chief Executive Emma Revie says,

“People are being locked into extreme poverty and pushed to the doors of food banks. Hunger in the UK isn’t about food – it’s about people not having enough money. People are trying to get by on £50 a week and that’s just not enough for the essentials, let alone a decent standard of living.

“Any of us could be hit by a health issue or job loss – the difference is what happens when that hits. We created a benefits system because we’re a country that believes in making sure financial support is there for each other if it’s needed. The question that naturally arises, then, is why the incomes of people at food banks are so low, despite being supported by that benefits system?

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

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

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

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Contact

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

Notes to Editor

The key findings and full report can be read here.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

Contact

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

Notes to Editor

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

About the Trussell Trust:

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

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

 

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

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

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

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said:

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

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

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

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Contact:

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

Notes to editor

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

About the Trussell Trust:

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

 

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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.”

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Contact

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

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #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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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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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.”

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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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