Cost of living crisis: People forced to skip meals to feed their children as food bank usage increases
More than two million food parcels were handed out across the UK last year as people resort to skipping meals to feed their children and turning off the heating to deal with the cost of living crisis.
New figures released by the Trussell Trust charity – which provides emergency food supplies to people in need – reveal the extent the pandemic and financial hardships were having on households before the recent rise in energy costs.
In Flintshire 7813 food parcels were handed out to people across the county borough between April 2021 and March 2022.
In neighbouring counties 6897 food parcels were administered in Wrexham and 5064 in Denbighshire.
Over the 12 month period food banks across Wales provided 131,232 food parcels.
UK wide this figure was more than 2.1 million – with 830,000 for children.
This represents a 14 per increase compared to the same period in 2019/20 – before the pandemic – as more and more people are unable to afford the absolute essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm, dry and clean.
It is also the first time that food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network have provided more than two million parcels, outside of 2020/21, at the height of the pandemic.
Food bank managers are now warning of an accelerating crisis across the UK following the cut to Universal Credit, as the cost of living continues to soar. Need for food banks in the Trussell Trust network has accelerated throughout the past six months:
- July – September 2021 saw a 10% increase in comparison to the same period in 2019
- October – December 2021 saw a 17% increase in comparison to the same period in 2019
- January – February 2022 saw a 22% increase in comparison to the same period in 2020
The charity is warning that these figures will worsen as the cost of living crisis continues, as it calls for the UK government to act now and help prevent hundreds of thousands more families being forced to the doors of food banks
With the energy price cap rise just starting to bite, the charity says for most people at risk from financial hardship – who cannot work or work longer hours due to disability, caring responsibilities or mental health issues – there is very little protection ahead.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “People are telling us they’re skipping meals so they can feed their children. That they are turning off essential appliances so they can afford internet access for their kids to do their homework.
“How can this be right in a society like ours? And yet food banks in our network tell us this is only set to get worse as their communities are pushed deeper into financial hardship. No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.
“There is still time for the UK government to do the right thing. We are calling on the UK government to bring benefits in line with the true cost of living.
“As an urgent first step benefits should be increased by at least 7%, keeping pace with increases in the cost of living. In the longer term, we need the government to introduce a commitment in the benefits system to ensure that everyone has enough money in their pockets to be prevented from falling into destitution.”
“By failing to make benefits payments realistic for the times we face, the government now risks turning the cost of living crisis into a national emergency.”
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