According to a joint report by Oxfam and Church Poverty Action over 500,000 people need help from foodbanks in order to survive.
Mark Goldring, the chief executive of Oxfam, said: “The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of of people in the UK are turning to food aid. Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet.”
The Trussell Trust, the biggest organiser of food banks in the United Kingdom, said almost 350,000 people received at least three days’ emergency food last year, compared with about 130,000 in 2011-12. But because there is an array of organisations distributing food, the new report conservatively estimates that well over 500,000 people are now relying on the charity handouts.
Niall Cooper, the chief executive of Church Action on Poverty, said: “The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the ‘normal’ safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support.”
The Trussell Trust runs 350 food banks across the UK with help from 30,000 volunteers. It is also opening three new foodbanks every week. It helps out people referred to it by Social Services and doctors as well as school liaison officers and Jobcentre Plus staff.