The five week wait for Universal Credit must be reduced. If that’s not possible right now, all new claims must be paused until the wait can be brought down.
The number of three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust food banks in April – September 2018.
The Trussell Trust’s food bank network provided 658,048 emergency supplies to people in crisis between April and September 2018, a 13% increase on the same period in 2017.
Number of three-day emergency food supplies given by Trussell Trust food banks
“We created systems like our national health service, fire service and benefits system because we’re a country that believes in protecting each other. Our benefits system is supposed to anchor any of us from being swept into poverty, but if Universal Credit is to do that, we need to see urgent changes.
“It’s not right that people are being forced to use food banks after weeks of waiting for Universal Credit payments. The changes announced in last week’s Budget are a good start – but they won’t solve all of the problems food banks see, and they won’t help people making new claims this winter.
“We’re seeing soaring levels of need at food banks. The time to act is now. If the five-week wait isn’t reduced, the only way to stop even more people being forced to food banks this winter will be to pause all new claims to Universal Credit, until funding is in place to reduce the five-week wait. Food banks cannot continue to pick up the pieces – we have to make sure our benefits system can protect people from hunger.”
Primary Reasons for Referral to Trussell Trust food banks in April - September 2018
The top four reasons for referral to a food bank in The Trussell Trust network in April – September 2018 were ‘low income – benefits, not earning’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’.
Universal Credit is not the only benefit people at food banks are experiencing problems with, but during April-Sept we saw the proportion of benefit delay referrals made due to issues with moving onto the new system rise to 31% compared to 16% during the same period last year.
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.
More information about our network’s electronic referral system and what the figures between April and September 2018 show can be found 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.
food bank centres operate within the Trussell Trust Network
tonnes of food donated by the public in 2017/2018 to Trussell Trust food banks
frontline professionals such as doctors and social workers give food bank vouchers to people in crisis
people volunteered with a Trussell Trust food bank in 2017/2018