Research and advocacy

To help end poverty and hunger in the UK, we advocate for a robust welfare safety net and secure incomes that ensure people can afford to the basic essentials like food. Our policy asks are rooted in evidence from food banks in our network across the UK, and the people they support.


Universal Credit

The Next Stage of Universal Credit. We are advocating that before more people are referred to food banks, that the government takes responsibility for moving people onto Universal Credit, providing the right support for all claimants and that they publish a schedule for the next stage of Universal Credit.

Left Behind Report, March 2018. This report shows that Universal Credit is unable to provide a well-functioning service for some of the people in our society most in need of support, leading to an increased burden on the third sector.

Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Food banks, April 2017. This report looks at some of the impacts of the transition to Universal Credit. We used the findings to suggest practical ways in which any adverse side effects of Universal Credit rollout could be mitigated.


The impact of benefit sanctioning on food insecurity, October 2016. The University of Oxford released their report on sanctions identifying a strong link between benefit sanctioning and food bank use. We advocate a ‘yellow-card warning’ system where people are not sanctioned for their first infringement.

Local Welfare Assistance Schemes

A Local Jigsaw: A Study into Local Welfare Assistance Schemes and Food banks, July 2017. Local welfare assistance, or crisis loans, are increasingly unavailable or difficult to access.  We advocate that local welfare assistance funding be sustained, increased, and ring-fenced, and for councils to have a statutory duty to meet the needs of people at risk of falling into crisis.

Health, Disability & Work

Financial insecurity, food insecurity, and disability, June 2017. This report, authored by researchers at the University of Oxford, is the most wide-ranging piece of research on food bank use in the UK. It found that half of food bank users are disabled, three-quarters have health conditions, and 1 in 6 households referred to food banks are in work. We advocated that disability benefits should be restored and work should be secure and fairly paid.

Disability, Health, and Hunger, 2018. Digging deeper into the relationship between health, poverty, and food bank use, this report looks into what food banks are doing on the ground to support people with health conditions, and suggests local and national solutions to help ensure disabled people aren’t left hungry.

Additional Services

Non-food provision’ in the Trussell Trust Network in Scotland, 2017. This report looks at the scale and demand of need for essential non-food items in Scotland such as toiletries and feminine hygiene products.


Below the Breadline, 2013. Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust sought to measure the extent of food poverty across the UK for the first time and the links to problems with the welfare safety net.

Emergency Use Only, 2014. We worked with the Church of England, Child Poverty Action Group and Oxfam identifying a number of problems with the benefits system contributing to an increase in food bank use.

Emergency Use Only II, 2017. This update looked at the change in policy and practice and identified recommendations and next steps.


Volunteers across the UK giving ‘at least £30 million’ a year in unpaid work to support foodbanks, 2017. Alongside the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), we released the first data on the value of volunteers in food banks, both independent and the Trussell Trust, and found that volunteers were giving over £30 million to food banks in volunteer hours.

Evidence submissions

Benefit Sanctions, 2014. Our evidence submission to Work & Pensions Select Committee Inquiry detailed some of the harmful effects of sanctions on food bank clients.

APPG on Hunger Inquiry into the Extent of Hunger Amongst Children During the School Holidays, As Well As the Impact It Has on Their Life Chances, 2016.

Feeding Britain: A strategy for zero hunger in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland The report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom, 2016. We regularly input into the work of All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s Feeding Britain inquiry and continue to work closely with members of the committee. Read about our responses to the reports in 2014 and 2015.

Universal Credit Written Evidence, 2016