New data released by the Trussell Trust shows April 2018 to March 2019 to be the busiest year for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. During the past year, 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in the UK; More than half a million of these (577,618) went to children. This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year.
The main reasons for people needing emergency food are benefits consistently not covering the cost of living (33%), and delays or changes to benefits being paid
In Edinburgh South, between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, 1,332 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 562 of these going to children.
Universal Credit is not the only benefit payment people referred to food banks have experienced problems with, but issues with moving onto the new system are a key driver of increasing need. Almost half (49%) of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefits being paid in UK were linked to Universal Credit.
From this data, and other insights from food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network, the charity believes ending the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment should be the Government’s first priority to help create a future without food banks.