Food bank use has rocketed because it is impossible to survive on the Tory benefit system

A food bank: This one is in Salford.

What is the point of the UK’s financial deficit reaching its lowest level since 2007, if the country’s citizens are being left destitute, families split, and individuals driven towards suicide because the government has deliberately taken away all means of supporting themselves?

That is the question we should be asking after the Trussell Trust revealed that use of its food banks rocketed by 13 per cent in the year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

The charity’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children.

This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64 per cent.

It has been claimed that the increase is because the Conservative government has failed to ensure that benefit payments can cover the cost of everyday essentials.

Not only that, but delays in providing benefits to new claimants – particularly the hated Universal Credit – were responsible for a large proportion of food bank referrals.

According to the Trussell Trust: “‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a food bank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28 per cent of referrals UK-wide compared to 26 per cent in the previous year. Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.

“The other main primary referral reasons in 2017-18 were benefit delays (24 per cent) and benefit changes (18 per cent). New data about the types of benefit change driving food bank use is clear: whilst referrals due to ‘benefit sanction’ have declined over the last year, those due to ‘reduction in benefit value’ have the fastest growth rate of all referrals made due to a benefit change, and those due to ‘moving to a different benefit’ have also grown significantly.

“Universal Credit is not the only benefit people at food banks are experiencing issues with, but it is a significant factor in many areas. New analysis of food banks that have been in full UC rollout areas for a year or more shows that these projects experienced an average increase of 52 per cent in the twelve months after the full rollout date in their area. Analysis of food banks either not in full UC areas, or only in full rollout areas for up to three months, showed an average increase of 13 per cent.”

The Trust also said a survey of 284 people on UC, who had been referred to food banks, showed the adverse impact of the initial wait, the lack of available statutory support, the inability of UC payments to cover the cost of living for people who most need it, and poor administration.

The charity is consequently calling for benefit levels to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living, particularly for disabled people and families with dependent children who are particularly at risk of needing a foodbank, and for a requirement to be placed upon Local Authorities to deliver a true Universal Support service to everyone who starts a Universal Credit claim.

It is also asking for an urgent inquiry into poor administration within Universal Credit, so errors such as incorrect payments along with poor communication issues can be tackled.

Clearly, the Trussell Trust is not expecting to bid for any contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions in the near future, as organisations working for the rogue government department are bound by contract not to do anything that harms confidence in the DWP or its secretary of state, Esther McVey. The charity’s findings are clear evidence of the reason for this contractual requirement.

In Scotland, the rise in food bank use was higher than the UK average, according to the Daily Record which stated: “In the past year, the Trussell Trust reported a 17 per cent increase in people depending on their help to live, with 170,625 three-day emergency food supplies handed to those in crisis – of which 55,038 went to children.

“The Scottish rise was higher than the UK average increase of 13 per cent.

“Data for 2017-18 shows that benefit delays and sanctions remain the biggest reason for people being referred.”

The Daily Mirror hammered home the cruelty of the Conservative policy that Ms McVey is cruelly following, with the story of a woman who considered giving up her children in order to make sure they could eat.

That’s right: These filthy Conservatives are deliberately starving families into splitting up.

The paper quoted Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie, who said: “We collected stories of a stroke victim left with nothing when discharged from hospital as their benefits were stopped.

“A woman whose husband suffers from PTSD with money for the electric heating.

“And even a mother who considered giving up her own two children while she waited for her Universal Credit to come in so that they could finally get some food.

“Tens of billions of pounds have been taken out of our welfare system in recent years, and this process shows no signs of stopping.”

She was also quoted as saying for many UC is simply “not enough to make ends meet” and leaves people “locked into debt, hunger, destitution and misery”.

But don’t worry about that – public sector borrowing has dropped to £42.6 billion in the last financial year!

Strangely, none of the reports about the financial improvement seem to be explaining how it was managed.

Maybe it is bad for business to report a financial boost built on misery, poverty and suicide.

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6 thoughts on “Food bank use has rocketed because it is impossible to survive on the Tory benefit system

  1. aunty1960

    Do you ever look at what people drop into the Foodbank boxes at supermarkets?

    No real thinking and no real nutritional value.

    Too much boxes of treats, biscuits, cakes and mega family bags of crisps thinking they will treat them.

    Looked in today and saw a jar or Piccallili

    Hmm? no fresh ham or bread to go with that.

    I got a box once, smallest tin of Princes Ham, smallest tin of carrots smallest tin of potatoes in brine and rest biscuits, sponge puddings, jamaica ginger cake and high sugars To get me through xmas.

    I would be high as a kite on the sugar but hungry and malnutritioned

    also did not go after 2nd bag as conditional on being bear hugged and molested by Salvation army officer and do not go to church things.

    HATE IT!


    puts us on the end of abuse.

    Having a problem asking and getting local churchy people and come along side people not to pat stroke or hug. They just do not accept the “NO.” and our need for our own self respect and dignity. Then the nodding dog head mmm mmm noises and pitying looks. then again the quick trying to get a hug and physical contact in and totally ignore what you say.

    I say




    Done without rather than be petted and groped

    1. Florence

      My local labour party has a weekly collection for the food bank. We try and supply what they ask for. They ask for meat and meat based tinned meals. They ask for high protein and child friendly meals. They have lots of beans, rice and pasta, but need cook-in sauces to make it palatable.

      I have found I am not alone at weeping when shopping for food banks because it is all tinned, its not good food, and I hate that. I hate knowing people are so hungry they are grateful just to eat to stay alive, to not miss any more meals.

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience but some of us are trying very hard and working with charities that don’t have conditions other than need to get help. Ours also provides complete support with clothes furniture appliances curtains, kitchen stuff, because they also support those who are no longer supported by our vanished social security net. Our local party are also working hard to secure a Labour govt and to make sure the Local Authority, also not Labour controlled, are kept under scrutiny to fulfil their duties including “discretionary” payments etc. What more can we do, as society and peoples lives crumble around us, waiting for the rest of Tory land to notice and stop voting for them?

  2. Roland Laycock

    Capitalism at its best, s I look at history books nothing as changed over the years, Jeremy Corbyn looks the best for change the working class have that’s if the Blairits don’t put a spanner in the works

  3. Pat Sheehan

    And that lying, cheating, devious, swindling, racist monstrosity of a far-right, power hungry, rights grabbing tory dictatorship just keeps on rolling on and on and on! Never in all my life have I seen such debacle unfold in such excruciating, daily detail and pass for ‘democratic government’ and with such popular support. And every day some new revelation exposing historic, hideous ‘establishment’ activity contrived to stamp out basic human rights with police and media forces complicit in its execution. And still it’s not enough it seems to wake ‘the host’ from its eternal stupor.

  4. Florence

    A good friend has hit rock bottom, on a 5hr a week contract with a national retailer, promised extra hours when she started a year ago. Now on 9 hours (but not contracted) after crying and grovelling. I have given her a food bank leaflet, because she can’t cope, and she doesn’t qualify for working tax credits until she works 30 hours a week. She has borrowed from friends and family, and is now close to suicidal as she can’t see a way out . We live in a very rural depressed area. She has a summer job too, but the tourist season hadn’t started yet. The work just isn’t there, we need the whole economy to be lifted up, for more money to circulate in the local economy and to stay in the economy. Bottom line, the food bank keeps on running out of food, and we haven’t started rolling out UC to families yet .

    Its like the third world here, we can’t get GPs and teachers because it’s so depressed. People can’t afford to travel for medical treatment. Sorry if this sounds like a rant but this is the end game when the wealth is sucked out of the UK. Food banks are a barometer, and they are being set up to fail with UC.

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