Trussell Trust says that one million three day food supplies a year must not become the new normal.
New University of Hull data mapping suggests important emergent correlation between foodbank use and areas with high numbers of people who are in skilled manual work or unable to work due to long term illness or disability.
Main drivers of foodbank usage remain benefit problems and low income.
Latest figures published by The Trussell Trust today show that foodbank use remains at record levels, rising two percent on last year. 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by the charity’s network of 424 foodbanks in the 2015/16 financial year, compared to 1,084,604 in 2014/15. Of this number, 415,866 went to children. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average, people needed two foodbank referrals in the last year.
For the first time, The Trussell Trust has also partnered with the University of Hull to develop new tools that help us better understand the drivers of foodbank use, and areas of greatest need, by mapping foodbank data against census data. The early findings of this new research reinforce the trends seen by foodbanks related to benefits problems and low income.
Trussell Trust data shows that benefit delays and changes remain the biggest causes of foodbank use, accounting for 42 percent of all referrals (28 percent benefit delay; 14 percent changes), a slight reduction on last year’s 44 percent. Foodbanks report people are still being impacted by sanctions and a mix of delays and changes to various benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP). In some areas foodbanks report increased referrals due to delays and arrears in Universal Credit payments.
Low income has risen as a referral cause from 22 percent to 23 percent. Foodbanks report that the main issues that cause working people to be referred were low wages, insecure work, high living costs and problems accessing working benefits.