Today’s headlines are truly shocking.
BUT fail to reveal the whole story of use in food banks in the UK, in the last year.
‘More than a million people have used food banks in past year’ – The Guardian
‘Food banks: over one million people seek emergency help’ – Channel 4
‘PM defends poverty record as one million use food banks’ – ITV news
‘Record one million using foodbanks’ – Daily Mail
The true figure for the number of food parcels given out by food banks across this country in the last 12 months, on a conservative estimation, could be over 2 Million.
HOW DO YOU GET TO THE FIGURE OF 2 MILLION?
Todays data is based on figures released by the Trussell Trust, the country’s largest provider of food banks, but theTrussell Trust represents only 45% of all food banks in the UK.
So it is logical that the figure of one million can be doubled and might be even higher than two million because food is also given out by soup kitchens and ‘meals on wheels’.
Trussell Trust UK food bank director Adrian Curtis said: ” It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.”
Hannah Lambie-Mumford, a research fellow at the University of Sheffield and a food bank specialist, said: “As data is not collected on the numbers of people experiencing food poverty, it is impossible for us to draw any conclusions about wider experiences from these statistics; that said, they are very likely to represent just the tip of the iceberg – with many more people experiencing food poverty than reflected in these figures.”
The use of food banks in the UK is a sad and tragic indictment on the record of the Conservative led Coalition’s five years in power and how their policies have effected the poorest in socierty.
Using the data from the Trussell Trust, you can see the changes that have happened over the last five years.
🔴 In 2009 Trussell only had 56 food banks in 2009 to 445 food banks in 2014.
🔴 The Trust served 29 UK local authorities in 2009 but that number increased to 251 by 2013.
🔴 In 2009 Trussell helped 41,000 people, now it is helping nearly 1.1 million. A 19% year-on-year increase.
WHY IS THERE SUCH A INCREASE?
The Conservatives claim that the main reason for the spike in use of food banks is down to people being more informed that they exicist.
George Osborne said: “I think one of the reasons that there has been increased use of food banks is because people have been made aware of the food bank service through local jobcentres.”
The Trussell Trust say that people referred to food banks by Jobcentres are only a small percentage of total referrals.
Todays figures from the Trust show:
🔴 44%, of food bank referrals last year were triggered by people pitched into crisis because their benefit payments had been delayed, or stopped altogether as a result of the strict jobcentre sanctions regime.
🔴More than a fifth, 22%, of food bank users were referred because of low income – meaning they were unable to afford food due to a relatively small financial crisis such as a boiler breaking down or having to buy a school uniform.
This group includes people in low-paid, zero-hours or part-time work who were forced to turn to food banks.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This should make all of us ashamed, particularly those who claim we have a strong economy and everyone is sharing in the recovery.
“It tells us that the Government has done grave damage to the welfare safety net. Of course we should deal with those who abuse it, but vicious sanctions and benefit cuts – even for those who paid in all their working lives – are destroying the support any of us might need if we lose our job or have an accident.”
Unite general secretary Len McClusky said: “The UK is the sixth richest country on the planet so something has gone grotesquely wrong when so many people, in and out of work, have to turn to charity to feed their children.
” It is no longer enough to say that we need to make hunger history – we need to make the government that supercharged this need history once and for all.”
Dr John Middleton, vice president of charity the Faculty of Public Health said: “The rising number of families and individuals who cannot afford to buy sufficient food is a public health issue that we must not ignore.
“For many people, it is not a question of eating well and eating healthily, it is a question of not being able to afford to eat at all. UK poverty is already creating massive health issues for people today, and if we do not tackle the root causes of food poverty now we will see it affecting future generations too.”
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