‘This should make us all ashamed’: People using food banks soars to over 1m

The number of people using foodbanks has reached a record one million after an increase in workers on low pay having to seek emergency help for food, new figures have revealed. The Trussell Trust said almost 400,000 children were among those receiving at least three days’ of supplies from the charity’s 445 foodbanks across the UK in the past year. The figure doesn’t tell the true picture of the crisis, as many small charities and churches also run foodbanks or schemes for handing out food to families in need.

Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today.

Trussell Trust UK food bank director Adrian Curtis

The Trussell Trust, which launched its first foodbank in Salisbury in 2000, said 1,084,604 people received supplies in the last financial year, an increase of 19% over the previous 12 months. Problems with benefits were the main reason people visited foodbanks, but the Trust said there had been an increase in those on low incomes. Foodbank managers reported dealing with people struggling with insecure work, low pay and high living costs. A qualified teacher and mother of two who uses foodbanks, said: “I have an 18-month-old son and an eight-year-old stepson, I work part time as a teacher and my husband has an insecure agency contract. There are times when he doesn’t get enough hours of work, and we really struggle to afford food and pay the bills. The foodbank meant we could put food on the table.”

This should make all of us ashamed, particularly those who claim we have a strong economy and everyone is sharing in the recovery.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady