Nearly 1M people in the UK rely on emergency food aid

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Almost a million people have received emergency aid in the past year from the Trussell Trust
Almost a million people have received emergency aid in the past year from the Trussell Trust

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The number of people using food banks has nearly trebled in the past year, fuelling widespread criticism of the current UK government.

According to the latest Trussell Trust figures, a whopping 913,000 people received three days’ emergency aid in 2013–14, compared to 346,000 in the previous year.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the figure highlighted that the UK was suffering the worst living standards since the Victorian era.

​There will be no sighs of relief from families struggling to get by in the face of the biggest squeeze in living standards since the Victorian era,” ​he said.

“With the retail price index at 2.5% and wage growth at 1.4%, excluding bonuses, the squeeze continues leaving ordinary people bewildered at the self-congratulatory tone of the government that has presided over the growing shame of food bank Britain.”    

Criticism

Social media erupted with criticism for the UK government being forced to hand out nearly 1M meals, despite being the sixth richest country in the world.

The Labour party led the attacks on the PM David Cameron and his current government, tweeting:

Labour Left’s founder Eoin Clarke claimed the problem was bigger than the Trussell Trust figures highlighted, as only 37% of food banks in the UK are run by the firm.

There are 1,080 food banks in the UK and PM David Cameron turned down £300M free EU cash to fund them, Clarke claimed.

Labour Party secretary for Camberwell and Peckham, national executive committee member and campaign organiser for The Lane Branch Labour Party Johanna Baxter branded the government as shameful.

MP for Tottenham David Lammy used the social networking site to draw attention to a “staggering rise” ​in the amount of people in London forced to use food banks, which he claimed had increased by 127% in the past year to 95,639.

‘Travesty’

“It is a travesty in any city when people have to rely on food banks in order to survive, but even more so in one of the wealthiest cities on Earth,” ​Lammy added on his website. “Data shows that the main cause of emergency foodbank usage is the government’s benefit strategy and the shambolic implementation of its welfare reforms.

“Almost one in two Londoners forced to use foodbanks do so because of changes or delays in their benefit payments. The coalition is not only doing nothing to help Londoners living in in-work poverty – it is actively making their lives harder.”

Nearly 900,000 young people are currently on the dole in the UK, with 1M only able to find part-time work.

Guardian journalist and author Owen Jones tweeted his disapproval that a country as affluent as the UK had so many people unable to feed themselves.

But it wasn’t just politicians and journalists that were enraged by the figures. Comedian Chris Addison also took to Twitter to raise the issue of food banks and point holes in Cameron’s sympathies with Christianity.

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2 comments

Why pay for something when you can get it for free?

Posted by Frank Johnston-Banks,

I am sorry FX Pete, you have been misled by the media and other "interested parties". The only "Other Research" I know is with my own eyes and ears - and I suggest you go and find out the truth by talking to a Foodbank yourself. In fact I have started a food bank in my area, and I can tell you that in my direct experience at least - quite the opposite occurs. People are very ashamed and embarrassed to come to foodbanks and only attend when they have no food left for their family. Adults are often not eating so their kids can eat - fact. All our users have come from referrals from social services or CAB etc. We are talking really desperate people here and please let nobody tell you otherwise!

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Why pay for something if somone will give it to you for free

Posted by FX Pete,

Other research has shown that the food banks are being used by people who do not have any genuine need for them. It probably allows them to spend money on other "necessities" such as tobacco, alcohol, skytv etc etc

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