The Trussell trust - Britain's largest food bank network - urges David Cameron to launch an in-depth inquiry into causes of 'scandalous' levels of food poverty after it emerged that food bank use has tripled year-on-year, reports The Guardian.{jcomments on}

The Trussell trust charity said 355,000 people received food parcels from its food banks between April and September - more than the entire number given out during the whole of last year.

It says the increase is driven largely by hardship caused by benefit delays, welfare reform and low pay – and that the problem of hunger was getting worse.

Chris Mould, executive chairman of the trust, said: "The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable. It's scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people. The time has come for an official and in-depth inquiry into the causes of food poverty and the consequent rise in the usage of foodbanks."

The Trussell figures show that one in five food parcel recipients – 65,177 people – were referred to its foodbanks as a result of changes to their benefits in the first half of this year, compared with 14,897 (14%) during the same period last year. Delays in the payment of benefits resulted in 117,442 people (35%) being referred between April and the end of September, compared with 35,597 (33%) in the same period in 2012-13.

The trust said its 400 foodbanks were reporting increased referrals as a result of the bedroom tax, sanctioning (when claimants have their payments stopped for up to six months for infringements of benefit conditions) and confusion caused by the devolution of social fund crisis loans to local councils in April.

The trust said that while there were now double the amount of foodbanks open this year, this did not account for the rise in demand.

But a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said it had taken action to help families with the cost of living, and that there was "no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks".

Source: The Guardian


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