Over 1 million people now using food banks in the UK – Flintshire busiest in North Wales
The latest figures published by the Trussell Trust show a record one million people using food banks.
In Wales over 85,000 adults and children in Wales have received three days’ emergency food from the charity’s foodbanks in the last 12 months, more than in any previous year.
The data shows that despite much ‘noise’ around an economic recovery, the numbers of people turning to foodbanks continues to grow.
Flintshire has the unenviable tag of being the busiest food bank in North Wales as desperate families look for emergency help in the face of low pay, delays to benefit payments and benefit cuts.
Number of people in Flintshire who received three days’ food from the Trussell TrustFood Bank in 2014/15:
In Wales 85, 875 people – including 30,136 children – received three days’ food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in Wales.
Nationally, 1,084,604 people – including 396,997 children – received three days’ food from the Trussell Trust’s network of over 400 foodbanks in 2014/15, compared with 913,138 in the 2013/14 financial year, an increase of 19 percent.
Whilst problems with benefits remain the largest driver of foodbank use, there has been an increase in numbers referred due to low income in the last year.
In Wales, the top three primary referral reasons were
1) Benefit delays accounted for 31% of referrals
2) ‘Low Income’ accounted for 24% of referrals
3) Benefit changes accounted for 14% of referrals
Food Bank usage in Wales
Foodbanks reported that the most significant factors in driving demand were: low income, administrative delays in paying social security benefits, benefits sanctions and debt.
Nationally, in the last year total numbers of foodbanks launched rose by five percent, whilst numbers of people helped by foodbanks rose by 19 percent.
Trussell Trust UK foodbank director Adrian Curtis says:
‘Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today. It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.’
[pullquote type=”right”]A mum at a children’s holiday lunch club said that she was skipping meals to feed her children but couldn’t bring herself go to a foodbank, saying: ‘There are people out there more desperate than me. I’ve got a sofa to sell before I’ll go to the food bank,’ she replied. ‘It’s a pride thing. You don’t want people to know you’re on benefits.’[/pullquote]
Adrian Curtis continues:
‘Trussell Trust foodbanks are increasingly hosting additional services like debt counselling and welfare advice at our foodbanks, which is helping more people out of crisis. The Trussell Trust’s latest figures highlight how vital it is that we all work to prevent and relieve hunger in the UK. It’s crucial that we listen to the experiences of people using foodbanks to truly understand the nature of the problems they face; what people who have gone hungry have to say holds the key to finding the solution’.
Dr John Middleton, Vice President of Faculty of Public Health says:
‘The rising number of families and individuals who cannot afford to buy sufficient food is a public health issue that we must not ignore. For many people, it is not a question of eating well and eating healthily, it is a question of not being able to afford to eat at all. UK poverty is already creating massive health issues for people today, and if we do not tackle the root causes of food poverty now we will see it affecting future generations too. The increased burden of managing people’s health will only increase if we do not address the drivers of people to food banks.’
We have asked each Alyn and Deeside Parliamentary candidate for their view on Flintshire’s rising number of Foodbank users – more to follow.
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