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New figures from food bank charity the Trussell Trust show that almost three times as many people received its package of three days’ emergency food and support in 2013-14 as did in the previous year.

The number of adults and children receiving help increased by a staggering 163 per cent, rising from 346,992 to 913,138.

Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand, according to the Trussell Trust’s report. 83 percent of Trussell Trust foodbanks surveyed recently reported that benefits sanctions, which have become increasingly harsh, have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food. Half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

“That 900,000 people have received three days’ food from a foodbank, close to triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain,” said the trust’s chairman, Chris Mould. “But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.

“Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.”

Whilst there has been a 163 percent increase in foodbank use, there has only been a 45 percent increase in the number of new Trussell Trust foodbanks opening in the last year – putting the lie to claims in the press earlier this year that the trust was exaggerating the size of the problem in order to promote itself.

The Trussell Trust’s figures further reinforce evidence from the recent government-commissioned DEFRA report that increased foodbank use is not a question of supply, but of meeting a real and growing need.

The rate of new foodbanks opening has reduced from three a week in 2012/13 to two a week in 2013/14. The Trussell Trust has launched more than 400 foodbanks across the UK to date.

Foodbanks that have been open for three years or more have seen an average increase of 51% in numbers helped in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13, showing that well established foodbanks are experiencing significant uplift in demand.

Vox Political says: If you want to know the real state of the economy, look at how people on the lowest incomes are surviving. These figures show up today’s (September 18) employment and inflation figures for the Con that they are.

(Thanks to glynismillward189 for sourcing the information from the Trussell Trust.)

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