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 number of emergency food parcels given to people in crisis by food banks in the Trussell Trust network between April to September 2019
The last six months have been the busiest on record for food banks as the need for emergency parcels soars to 23%.
Number of three-day emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network
“This is the busiest six months we’ve ever seen – more people than ever 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’re asking politicians 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.”
Primary reasons for referral to food banks in the Trussell Trust network in April to September 2019
The top four reasons for referral to a food bank in the Trussell Trust network in April – September 2019 were ‘low income’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’.
What needs to be done
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:
- Ending the five week wait for Universal Credit
- Ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living
- Investing in local emergency support for people in crisis
What do these stats show?
Every year we release statistics about the number of three day emergency food supplies food banks in our network have provided to people. We release figures for the first six months of the financial year in November, and for the full financial year at the end of April. These statistics therefore cover 1 April – 30 September of this year. For our latest full-year figures, click here.
Our statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average people needed around two food bank referrals in the last year. The data is collected using an online system into which food banks enter data from each food bank voucher, and the number of three-day emergency food supplies is recorded.
For example, if a family of three was referred to a food bank twice in one year, this would count as six supplies on the system because it would reflect six instances on which a supply went to someone in the household. However, if a family of three were only referred to a food bank once, this would count as three supplies.
Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK, because our figures relate to food banks in our network and not to the hundreds of independent food banks. There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in our network across the UK. Research from the Independent Food Aid Network suggests these centres account for roughly two-thirds of all emergency food banks in the UK – you can read more about this here.