Trussell Trust data shows over a million dependent on foodbanks as debt spirals and wages stagnate
Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64%.
For the first time, new national data highlights the growing proportion of foodbank referrals due to benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials, driving the increase in foodbank use overall. ‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a foodbank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28% of referrals UK-wide compared to 26% in the previous year.
Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.
Debt accounted for an increasing percentage of referrals – 9% up from 8% of referrals in the past year – and the statistics show the essential costs of housing and utility bills are increasingly driving foodbank referrals for this reason, with the proportion of referrals due to housing debt and utility bill debt increasing significantly since April 2016.
In Portsmouth South between April 2017 and March 2018, 6319 three day emergency food supplies were given to people facing crisis by the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network, 2265 of which were for children.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘These statistics show the true cost of the Tories’ low wage, low growth economy.
It is quite frankly outrageous that, under this Government, Portsmouth families are finding work doesn’t pay.
The Conservatives approach to our benefits system has clearly failed, and left ordinary working families across our city struggling to make ends meet’.
Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, said:
‘As a nation we expect no one should be left hungry or destitute – illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job could happen to any of us, and we owe it to each other to make sure sufficient financial support is in place when we need it most.
It’s hard to break free from hunger if there isn’t enough money coming in to cover the rising cost of absolute essentials like food and housing.
For too many people staying above water is a daily struggle. It’s completely unacceptable that anyone is forced to turn to a foodbank as a result.’