Food banks have delivered enough food to feed over one million for the first time, says Trussell Trust

21 April 2015

Figures released by the Trussel Trust at the end of April 2015, show that more than 1 million people received three days’ food from Trussell Trust foodbanks, compared to 900,000 last year.

The total number, which was a measure of volume, rather than individual use was 1,084,604 people, including 396,997 children given three days emergency food by Trussel food banks, a 19 per cent increase on 2013/2014 figures: whilst the total number of foodbanks launched in the UK rose by five per cent. Of this, the highest number of users by region was in the North West, where 157,248.

In contrast with previous research undertaken by Trussel Trust, Oxfam and the Church of England in 2014, which found that low pay is only a minor reason for people going to get aide from food banks, as for example, only one out of 40 users questioned was working on a zero hours contract. The research demonstrated a 20 per cent increase in referrals as a result of low income, to 22 per cent in 2014/15, whilst benefit delays and changes saw a decrease by 4 per cent to 44 per cent, but this was still the biggest reason for referral.

Trussell Trust, who run 445 food banks in the UK, collect statistics using an online data collection system into which foodbanks enter the data from each foodbank voucher. The system records the number of adults and children given three days’ emergency food. Recent evidence collected from a range of food banks indicated that “on average 49 percent of foodbank users only needed one foodbank voucher in a year, and that only 15 percent needed help more than three times in a year.” Although there has been much debate around the accuracy of the figures, the 19 per cent rise is undisputed.

As the Daily Mail reported, Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State in the Department for Work and Pensions, questioned the numbers, which he said were “unverified”, and insisted that the best way to help families was to get people into work, whilst a different independent food bank organisation warned that such figures could be misleading because food banks are a new phenomenon and should not be used as a “political football.”

The full press release and further details can be found here.