State of Hunger - Year 1

State of Hunger is the largest ever piece of research into hunger and food bank use in the UK. This three-year project, carried out by researchers at Heriot-Watt University, will help us to understand the scale of hunger and poverty in the UK and how we can move towards an end for the need for food banks.

Here, you’ll find information relating to the first year report in 2019. For the latest research, released in 2021, click here.

In 2019 the research revealed, for the first time, the key drivers of food banks use. Problems with the benefits system were widespread – two-thirds of people who have used a food bank in the Trussell Trust’s network had had a problem with the benefits system in the year before they needed emergency food.

Ill health and challenging life experiences like eviction or divorce are also pushing many people into hunger and poverty, and many either don’t have or have exhausted formal and informal support options.

This isn’t right. Nine in 10 Brits believe hunger in the UK is a problem, and we couldn’t agree more.

In 2019, we called on the UK Government to:

  • Make sure benefits are paid on time so that people aren’t pushed into poverty when they’re most in need of support. Ending the five week wait for Universal Credit is the first step.
  • Restore the value of benefits to make up for the losses experienced under the benefits freeze so that people can afford a decent standard of living.
  • Act as a responsible lender, so that the DWP isn’t forcing people to pay back money they can’t afford to do without.
  • Fund proper local crisis support so people aren’t forced to food banks.

This research is a clear call to action. It shows clearly what the government needs to do to help create change, and reveals the true extent of the problem. Together, we can make change happen.