Posted: Mon 9th Jun 2014

The use of food banks in Wales is ‘disproportionately high’ compared to size of population

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 9th, 2014

The use of food banks in Wales is disproportionately high, given the size of its population.

Screenshot from 2014-06-09 13:13:42

The Trussell Trust gave out 711,000 meals for a population of three million, compared with 639,000 in Scotland with a population of over five million.

Over the year to 2013/14 the use of Trussell Trust food banks rose 120 percent.

Rhondda food bank reported a 40 to 50 percent increase in visitors in the past year, with the major driver being problems with their social security payments.

Bridgend food bank, which opened in January 2010, saw a 123 percent increase in the numbers helped in 2013/14 compared with the previous financial year, giving three days’ emergency food to 8,772 people.

Nia, 22, from northeast Wales, has mental health problems.

She failed an Employment Support Fund Medical and had hunger cramps before she was referred to a foodbank.

‘I was embarrassed going there. I thought it was for homeless people,’ she says.

‘But when I got there the people were all sorts – young, old, mums with young kids, people like me.’

Around 690,000 people (23 percent of the population) in Wales live in households below the 60 percent low-income threshold after deducting housing costs. 

Meanwhile, 25 percent of Welsh workers earn less than the recommended Living Wage of £7.45 per hour. Zero-hours working is on the rise, with one-in-five employers admitting tooperating such contracts.

The Welsh government has taken steps to mitigate the impact of the UK government’s social security reforms.

This includes maintaining full support for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme following the abolition of Council Tax Benefit and replacing the abolished components of the Social Fund with the Discretionary Assistance Fund.

Screenshot from 2014-06-09 13:13:20

Source: Oxfam

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