The Trussell Trust has called for the five week waiting period for universal credit (UC) to be abolished as it released figures showing another big rise in food bank use.
According to the Trust, 18.8% more people used food banks in the year to the end of March 2019 compared to the preceding year.
In the year ending 31 March 2019 the Trust provided 1,583,668 emergency supplies to people in crisis, of which 577,618 supplies went to children.
This compares to the previous year when 1,332,952 emergency supplies went to people in crisis, of which 484,026 went to children.
Even more alarmingly, the figures show that the number of emergency supplies has risen by 73% since 2013.
The Trusselll Trust says that the main reasons for people visiting food banks are:
- 33.1% due to low income; over 80% of these referrals were for people receiving benefits and not earning and that almost half were linked to UC
- 20.3% due to delays in benefits being paid
- 17.3% due to changes in benefits
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:
“What we are seeing year-upon-year is more and more people struggling to eat because they simply cannot afford food. This is not right.
“Enough is enough. We know this situation can be fixed – that’s why we’re campaigning to create a future where no one needs a food bank. Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty. Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. As a priority, we’re urging the government to end the wait for Universal Credit to ease the pressure on thousands of households.
“Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a food bank in the first place. No charity can replace the dignity of having financial security. That’s why in the long-term, we’re urging the Government to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, to help ensure we are all anchored from poverty.”