Number of people using food banks rising

The number of people relying on food banks to get by has tripled over the last 12 months, according to new figures from the Trussell Trust.

The org…

The number of people relying on food banks to get by has tripled over the last 12 months, according to new figures from the Trussell Trust.

The organisation runs 400 food banks across the country and said it gave supplies and handouts to more than 350,000 people between April 2013 and September 2013.

Around one in three of those attending food banks were children, while a further third required the food because they had no money due to them not receiving benefits on time.

The Trussell Trust has now called for a public inquiry.

In response the government has set up a cross-party group of MPs to investigate, headed up by Labour's Frank Field, the current poverty advisor.

Mr Field said the main focus will be on the impact of benefit of cuts, low wages and high food prices.

With people in the UK struggling to make ends meet each month with rising daily expenses and an income that is not rising at the same rate of inflation it is no surprise so much pressure is being placed on food banks around the country.

Chris Mould, executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, said: "We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to food banks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse. The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable."

Food banks operate using a referral system, where professionals hand out vouchers that can be exchanged for three days' worth of emergency food. It is not designed for long term use, but individuals and families are running out of options.

According to the organisation, the problem is so severe some people have been returning items that need cooking, as they cannot afford to use the energy required.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has also reported a surge in demand, claiming it saw a 78 per cent increase in people coming to the charity for an emergency food parcel.

Its chief executive Gillian Guy said food banks "have no place in modern Britain" and claimed the crisis is getting worse. 

By Joe White

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