'700,000 households' rely on food banks

Some 700,000 households used a food bank in the year prior to the coronavirus outbreak, according to estimates from a study on food poverty.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:30 pm

This represents 2.5% of all UK households between 2019-20, the Trussell Trust said, with food bank users at the start of last year living on just £248 a month on average after paying for their housing.

The charity’s State of Hunger 2021 report found that 95% of those who needed help from Trussell Trust food banks in early 2020 were living in destitution - unable to afford to eat and stay warm and dry.

The research, commissioned by the Trussell Trust and carried out by Heriot-Watt University, surveyed 716 food bank users, 323 referral agencies, 20 managers, carried out in-depth interviews and conducted an additional survey of 436 people who used a food bank in summer 2020.

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The main reason people had such low income was due to benefits payments not covering the cost of living, according to the research.

Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said the Government must prioritise ending the need for food banks.

She said: "How can anyone in this country stay warm and dry and buy food on just £248 a month after rent?

"People struggling in extreme poverty are pushed to the doors of food banks because they do not have enough money to survive.

"Hunger in the UK isn't about food - it's about people not being able to afford the basics.

"We know we can change this. We need to change the conversation around poverty and take action together."