Latest figures show foodbank use up again for second time this year.
Steve McCabe was disappointed but not shocked to learn that foodbank usage has risen again for the second time this year.
Figures released yesterday by anti-poverty charity, The Trussell Trust have revealed that benefit delays and changes have been the biggest reasons for foodbank use, accounting for forty-four per cent of referrals to Trussell Trust foodbanks (27.4 per cent benefit delay; 16.6 per cent benefit changes). In response the charity is calling for a hotline to each foodbank’s local Job Centre Plus.
Low income was the second largest cause of a crisis, accounting for nearly one in four of all referrals to Trussell Trust foodbanks, driven by problems such as low pay, insecure work or rising costs.
Food bank staff and volunteers believe that a hotline would be a low cost solution that would allow them to support those in serious crises more quickly and efficiently, reducing stress and negative impact on the mental wellbeing of people referred to the foodbank. Evidence from The Trussell Trust network of foodbanks suggests foodbank managers, volunteers and welfare advisers spend a significant amount of time on hold to DWP phone lines on behalf of people in crisis.
Between April and September 2016, Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK distributed 519,342 three day emergency foodsupplies to people in crisis compared to 506,369 during the same period last year. 188,584 of these went to children.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“Sadly it appears that Foodbank usage is becoming the new normal and this is unacceptable. The latest figures show that 49,365 three day food supplies were given out here to people in crisis here in the West Midlands. I welcome the proposals to provide foodbank managers a hotline to Job Centre Plus staff as all too often food bank dependency is due to benefit issues.
“What is equally concerning is that the rise in food bank use by many people who are actually in work is not incidental, this is a result of policies that have been designed by the government to target the people who are the most vulnerable and are on the lowest incomes.”