Food banks see 'shocking' rise in number of users

 
Hackney food bank Benefit sanctions are one reason for increased use of food banks, it is claimed

Related Stories

A food bank charity says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before.

The Trussell Trust said a third were given to repeat visitors but that there was a "shocking" 51% rise in clients to established food banks. It said benefit payment delays were the main cause.

In a letter to ministers, more than 500 clergy say the increase is "terrible".

The government said there was no evidence of a link between welfare reforms and the use of food banks.

However, the Trussell Trust, the largest food bank provider in the UK, said benefits payments had been a particular problem since welfare changes were introduced just over a year ago.

Some 83% of food banks reported that benefits sanctions - when payments are temporarily stopped - had resulted in more people being referred for emergency food.

Start Quote

If I didn't come here, there wouldn't be any food for me tonight”

End Quote Andy Foodbank client

And more than 30% of visits were put down to a delay in welfare payments.

The second biggest reason, given by 20% of food bank users, was low income.

"In the last year, we've seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low incomes," said Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust.

'Terrible'

In all, 913,000 people received three days of emergency food supplies in the past 12 months.

But more than a third of those cases represented repeat visits. Some of the increase was also down to extra food banks opening.

Andy, a 47 year-old unemployed electrician, applied for jobseeker's allowance (JSA) a week ago, but has not heard when the money will come through.

boxes of rice

In the meantime, he has been referred to a food bank near his home in Hackney in north London.

"If I didn't come here, there wouldn't be any food for me tonight. It's the system. But I don't understand why there's a gap," he told the BBC.

Andy was sent away with two shopping bags of pasta, rice, vegetables, biscuits and juice.

The clergy from all major dominations, who include Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan and several senior Church of England bishops, describe the increase in the use of Trussell Trust food banks as "terrible", in a letter to the government.

Sarah Rae: "I didn't think I would ever be the sort of person who would need charity"

They insist it does not give a full picture of hunger in the UK because it does not include people who are too ashamed to use food banks and others who are cutting the size of meals.

They called on ministers to co-operate with an inquiry into the causes of hunger, led by the Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton.

A public vigil will be held on Wednesday night in Westminster to highlight the issue.

Paperwork

The government denies that welfare payments are a problem.

"There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms or benefit administration are linked to increased use of food banks," said a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

She also maintained that the amount of time taken to process payments had improved.

The clergy's view

Churches have been in the lead in criticising the effects of the government's welfare changes for more than a year, and looking for tangible evidence of "hunger" to back up their argument that they disproportionately affect the poorest people.

The figures for the use of food banks seem to provide at least an indication of food poverty, but how far they do is open to debate.

The Trussell Trust - which has taken on a campaigning role as well as providing food banks - says that at least 60% of their three-day parcels are taken by once-only clients, but that leaves some room for repeat visits, as the government has pointed out.

Ministers have also suggested that the publicity surrounding food banks will have pushed people in their direction. But arguments like this haven't deflected the clergy, who insist much of the real extent of hunger is hidden, as people cut the size of meals and parents go hungry to feed their children. They want a national debate about the issue, and to make it a moral issue, one the government shows every sign of being willing to take part in.

Ministers say that before their changes, benefits paid more than work and left many people "trapped" on welfare - something they insist was far from caring.

Some 92% of payments were now made within the target time of 16 days, a 6% improvement on the time taken five years ago, she told the BBC.

But an additional problem since April 2013 has been the abolition of DWP-funded crisis loans, designed to cover short-term emergencies.

Responsibility for these loans has been devolved to local authorities, which can make them harder to access.

Short-term advances, as they are known, are still available through job centres for people awaiting benefit payments. But many claimants - including Andy - are not always made aware of them.

Other people have their payments stopped, sometimes because they have missed an appointment, or have lost paperwork.

"We're often surprised by the length of sanctions people get," said Liza Cucco, the manager of the Hackney food bank.

"If someone is late for an appointment, I'm not sure it's reasonable to block their payments for four to six weeks," she told the BBC.

However the government said it was spending £94bn a year on working age benefits to provide a safety net to millions of people on low incomes.

It also insisted that its welfare reforms will promote work, and so lift millions of people out of poverty.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1117.

    Poverty is not an accident, it is man made and can be removed by the actions of human beings....Nelson Mandela

    Until you have been without money for essentials like food do not judge others because you never know the day when your life could turn and you will be the one in need of help.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 935.

    Many working people are living on 500-700 a month from part-time wages and having to cover rent, gas, electric, food, travel to work.

    I've never been out of work, I rarely drink or socialise and I definitely do not live luxuriously but many times in my working life I have been completely skint a week or two before payday.

    I can't imagine how much worse it is on basic jobseekers.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 898.

    My sister is on benefits, she has 3 children, she goes to food banks because she 'needs' to. She has £300 cash per week in various benefits, she has her rent and taxes paid for her. 3 of her kids have iPads, all have new branded clothes and gadgets. She uses food banks because she has little money left after luxuries.

    There is no need for food banks. People just do not prioritise needs over wants

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 791.

    In my job I have to give out food bank vouchers. A good proportion is due to benefit delay or sanction. An equally good proportion is down to poor budgeting, reliance on expensive pre-prepared foods and prioritising debts to mates, cigarettes and alcohol over food and rent.

  • rate this
    +44

    Comment number 471.

    In my city you have to be referred by a Dr, charity worker or agency to use one of the nine food banks. Food is donated by the public.

    It’s not given away free to anyone as people seem to think.

    Likewise many schools have had to introduce breakfast clubs to feed hungry kids. Like it or not poverty is back in the UK.

 

Comments 5 of 17

 

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    PETS PROFITS 12:18:
    Chart showing Pets ad Home's share price

    Pets at Home's share price is nearly 6% higher to 180.10p, following its first quarter trading update this morning. But it's worth pointing out that investors who bought on its first full day of trading on the Stock Exchange on 12 March this year are still well out of pocket. The Pets retailer was valued at 245p a share or £1.3bn in March. It is valued at just under £1bn at today's share price.

     
  2.  
    PEUGOEOT RECOVERS 11:56:
    Carlos Tavares, new chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroen, April 2014

    In case Peugeot's troubles passed you by, in April this year the car manufacturer announced a major recovery plan after recording net losses of 7.2bn euros ($10bn; £5.9bn) over the previous two years. The plan included cutting costs and slashing the numbers of models in its range from 45 to 26.

     
  3.  
    AIRBUS PROFITS TAKE OFF 11:40:
    Model of an Airbus A350 passenger

    European aerospace company Airbus expects its revenue to remain stable this year despite a big cancellation recently for some of its large A350 planes. The company says revenue rose 7% in the second quarter from the previous year, to 14.6bn euros ($19.5bn: £11.5bn). That helped boost its net income (profit) to 696m euros from 531m euros. In June Emirates airline cancelled an order for 70 A350s, opting for competitor Boeing instead.

     
  4.  
    PEUGEOT RECOVERS 11:25:

    French car marker Peugeot Citroen has narrowed its first-half losses and posted the first positive contribution from its core motoring division in three years. It has narrowed its net loss to 114m euros (£90m) from 471m euros a year earlier. The troubled car maker says its recovery plan is already producing results on all fronts, chief financial officer Jean Baptiste de Chatillon said.

     
  5.  
    SHAGGY DOG TALE 11:15:
    People patting dog

    Way too much good stuff in this to summarise: The story of the railway collection dogs who from Victorian times to the 1950s went about the railways charming passengers into giving them money. Have to pick this out though: "Some dogs were less than honest... [it was] discovered in the 1860s that Brighton Bob was using some of his money to buy biscuits at a bakery."

     
  6.  
    SPANISH GDP 10:59:

    Spain's economy grow at 0.6% in the second quarter, according to official figures, up from 0.4% in the first three months of the year. Yesterday the government raised its growth forecast for the year, saying it would be close to 1.5% this year and could reach 2% next year. The reading was the fastest quarterly rise since the last three months of 2007.

     
  7.  
    ITV PROFITS 10:45:
    ITV still

    ITV's results proclaim the company is now the biggest unscripted independent production company in the US after buying 80% of Leftfield Entertainment. The studio produces reality programmes such as Pawn Stars, Counting Cars, American Restoration and Real Housewives of New Jersey.

     
  8.  
    TAX CREDIT EXTENSION 10:30: Via Email Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News

    "HMRC says deadline for hundreds of thousands of people to renew their tax credits has been extended from 31 July to 6 August, owing to PCS strike action"

     
  9.  
    BANKER BONUSES 10:17:

    Swift reaction to the new plans from the Bank on bonuses. John Cridland, CBI director general, says, broadly, it's a good idea to align performance, behaviour and pay, but: "As these new rules are amongst the toughest in world, we need to be careful we don't create uncertainty which might make it increasingly hard to attract talent to London."

     
  10.  
    BANKER BONUSES 10:13:

    The PRA and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) are consulting on the bonus proposals. Martin Wheatley, head of the FCA said: "How a firm conducts its business and treats its customers must be at the heart of how it operates. This has to start at the top. Today's consultations mark a fundamental change in the regulators' ability to hold individuals to account, which is what the public expects of us. It will also build on the cultural change we are beginning to see in the boardrooms of firms across the country."

     
  11.  
    BANKER BONUSES 10:10:

    More: "The PRA [Prudential Regulation Authority] has also today published final rules on clawback which introduce a seven-year minimum period for clawback from the date of award. These rules will come into force on 1 January 2015."

     
  12.  
    BANKER BONUSES 10:07:

    More from the Bank of England's plans to improve bankers' accountability. Some are proposals and the Bank is consulting on them. They are not all new, firm, rules.

     
  13.  
    BANKER BONUSES 10:05:
    Bank of England

    The Bank of England's plans for making bankers more accountable is now released. It says "Increasing the alignment between risk and reward over the longer term, by requiring firms to defer payment of variable remuneration (e.g. bonuses) for a minimum of five or seven years depending on seniority, with a phased approach to vesting."

     
  14.  
    TURTLE TROUBLE 09:53:
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in Australia has caused more excitement than usual. The poster shows the turtles jumping from an exploding skyscraper, standard for an action movie, nor necessarily that offensive. That is until you look at the release date at the bottom of the poster. Paramount Pictures has apologised: "We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork."

     
  15.  
    RUSSIA SANCTIONS 09:35:

    Credit and debit card company Visa is one that isn't bothered by tightening sanctions on Russia. "The new package of US economic sanctions is not influencing the operations of Visa in Russia and does not force Visa to halt or block operations of financial institutions who have fallen under the sanctions," it said in a statement. "We are continuing to process transactions in a normal way."

     
  16.  
    NINTENDO LOSS 09:20:
    Nintendo characters

    Videogames giant Nintendo reports a £57m net loss for the April-June quarter. Higher costs are to blame. Sales were down by 8.4%.

     
  17.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 09:03:

    Barclays Bank is currently top of the risers on the FTSE 100. Its share price is up 3.3% at 226.30p, so it looks like investors are responding positively to its half year results. They've a way to make up though. Shares are about 30% down compared with last year. Earlier, boss Antony Jenkins told Today: "We are ahead of the targets we have set and in the next few quarters the market will reflect this in the share price." It's made a start.

     
  18.  
    PETS PROFITS 08:50:
    People and pets

    Stock market debutant Pets at Home has released its first trading update. It covers the 12 weeks to 17 July. Like-for-like sales are up 4.1%. Total revenue is 10.4% higher at £210.8m, driven, it says, by new store openings and strong food, accessories and services trade.

     
  19.  
    MARKETS UPDATE 08:41:

    The markets aren't up to much this morning - seems to be the Russia sanctions issue that's weighing things down. Currently:

    • The FTSE 100 is up 4 at 6811.36
    • Germany's Dax is up 9 at 9663.02
    • France's Cac 40 is down 6 at 4359.61
    • The Pound is down a touch at $1.693 and at 1 euro 26.3.
     
  20.  
    ANA PROFITS 08:31:
    Japan scene

    Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has reported a return to profits in the three months to June. The better result was thanks to expansion at a Tokyo airport and changes to its pension plan. Net profit came in at 3.5bn yen (£20m) against a loss of 6.6bn yen. Sales were 10% higher.

     
  21.  
    BANKER BONUSES 08:24: Radio 5 live

    Shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, says the previous Labour government should have been tougher on bankers' bonuses. "Most of the criticism of the Labour government from the banking sector and the Conservative party was that we were much too tough on the banks. Now in retrospect, those criticisms were wrong because we should have been tougher," he tells 5 live. He points out that no one at the time was pressing them to crack down further.

     
  22.  
    AMAZON INDIA Via Email Simon Atkinson Editor, India Business Report

    The editor of India Business Report in Mumbai emails: "Online shopping is still in its infancy in India but growing fast. The market's led by local players but Amazon is upping its presence - and today said it's investing $2bn in its India operations. But restrictions on e-commerce here mean it can't hold its own stock like it does in the UK and US. - for now at least it is only a 'platform' for others to sell through."

     
  23.  
    BAT PROFITS 08:07:
    A pile of cigarettes

    Tobacco giant British American Tobacco reports a fall in profits to £2.6bn in the six months to 301 June from £2.9bn a year earlier. It blames the strength of the pound but revenue is also lower, down 10% to £6.8bn in the period. Volume - which measures the number of actual cigarettes sold - fell 0.4%.

     
  24.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:55: BBC Radio 4

    Back to Barclays profits for a moment as Antony Jenkins also tells Today that staff at his bank are changing their ways: "Staff at Barclays are fully behind what we're trying to do with our culture change programme." He says staff know this is not only "the right thing to do" but also the way to better profits.

     
  25.  
    ELECTRICITY CUT 07:43:
    Pylons

    Regulator Ofgem has announced a cut in distribution charges that will mean a £12 a year average reduction in electricity bills. And, incidentally, offers us the opportunity to publish a nice picture of pylons.

     
  26.  
    BANKER BONUSES 07:32: BBC Radio 4

    Barclays boss Antony Jenkins tells the Today programme his bank can already take action against mis-behaving bankers: "If someone has done something wrong and performed badly we have the right too claw the bonus back today."

     
  27.  
    HEADLINES
  28.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:27: BBC Radio 4

    Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays is on the Today programme: "These are an encouraging set of results... Our capital position has never been stronger."

     
  29.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:27:

    ITV boss Adam Crozier says the broadcaster's "share of viewing" improved during its second quarter helped by the World Cup. He says he is confident of ITV's Autumn schedule of both new and returning drama and entertainment will help keep audience figures high. Meanwhile, ITV has benefitted from the economic recovery - specifically an improved advertising market.

     
  30.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:19:

    Investment bank income at Barclays fell 18%, reflecting a fall in customers. This follows allegations about malpractice in "dark pool" trading. Essentially, these are private stock markets and are the latest area of banking to be probed by regulators.

     
  31.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:19:

    ITV says total external revenues rose 7% to £1.2bn in the six months to 30 June, while revenue from its online, pay and interactive TV unit was up 20% to £67m.

     
  32.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:13:
    Barclays logo

    More on Barclays: Statutory pre-tax profit was £2.5bn (2013: £1.7bn), reflecting the fact bank had to set aside another £900m for PPI redress Read the full release here.

     
  33.  
    ITV PROFITS 07:10:
    ITV logo

    A strong set of numbers from broadcaster ITV this morning. Annual pre-tax profits are up 40% to £250m in the six months to 30 June compared with £179m for the same period last year.

     
  34.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 07:03:

    Barclays profit before tax is down 10% at £3.84bn.

     
  35.  
    BRITISH GAS BOSS 07:03:
    Iain Conn

    In all the excitement over bankers' bonuses we nearly forgot this. British Gas owner Centrica has succeeded in its pursuit of Iain Conn, confirming he will become its new chief executive from January 2015, succeeding Sam Laidlaw who is retiring. Mr Conn joins from BP where he has been chief executive, of BP's refining and marketing division,for the past seven years.

     
  36.  
    BARCLAYS PROFITS 06:52: BBC Radio 4
    Pedestrians pass a branch of Barclays Bank in the rain in London

    Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets is talking to the Today programme about Barclays interim results - coming up imminently. He says the investment banking arm of Barclays is "not listening" to new boss Antony Jenkins who has been trying to clean up the bank's reputation and practices.

     
  37.  
    DRIVERLESS CARS 06:44:
    Nissan car

    It's going to be a bank-heavy day today let's face it, but just to provide a break from all that, the government will be announcing changes in the law that will pave the way for driverless cars to take to Britain's roads next year. The government wants the UK to become a leader in developing the technology. In December, the Treasury said it would create a £10m prize to fund a town or city to become a testing ground for the cars.

     
  38.  
    MUSLIM ACCOUNTS 06:36:

    HSBC has told three Muslim organisations it will close their bank accounts. These are the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London, a think-tank on Islamic issues called the Cordoba Foundation based in West London, and a Muslim charity in Bolton called the Ummah Welfare Trust, which works in 20 countries giving aid. HSBC says the decisions were "absolutely not based on race and religion".

     
  39.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:30: Radio 5 live

    More from Ms Mangwana on Wake Up to Money. She says the proposed seven year rule may be more about changing culture in banking and the way in which bankers view their bonuses. But she also points out bonuses are generally paid in tranches that vest over a number of years, already (commonly anything between three and five years). "That's the current formula and there are [already] mechanisms to reclaim those bonuses," she says.

     
  40.  
    TWITTER SHARES 06:21:
    Twitter

    In case this happened too late for you, Twitter shares rocketed 30% on stronger-than-expected financial results. Revenue more than doubled in the second quarter. Shares rose to $50 in after hours trading. Still down on its high of $74.73, hit in December.

     
  41.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:10: Radio 5 live

    Samantha Mangwana, employment lawyer at Slater Gordon told Wake Up to Money seven years is a long time to hold a bonus and regulators may well find it difficult to reclaim money. It is highly likely bankers will have gone and spent the money already, she says, and have nothing that the Bank of England can reclaim.

     
  42.  
    BANKER BONUSES 06:07: BBC World News
    Tom Stephenson

    Those new rules on bankers' bonuses are expected to recommend a claw-back period of seven years. Tom Stevenson from Fidelity Worldwide on BBC World News says they could have been tougher: "One of the suggestions was that bankers could be jailed for a significant fall in profits - that's quite something isn't it. Even so, being able to claw back bonuses for seven years is pretty draconian."

     
  43.  
    06:02: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Good morning folks. It's looking like a busy day today. We also have trading updates from ITV and house builder Taylor Wimpey. As always you can get in touch via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on twitter @bbcbusiness

     
  44.  
    06:00: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Welcome again to the Live page. We're going to be banking heavy. There's Barclays results - in about an hour - and later this morning the Bank of England will release new restrictions on bankers' bonuses, said to be the toughest in the world. We'll see.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • A factory in JapanThe Travel Show Watch

    Factory infatuation – why Japan’s industrial compounds are drawing large crowds at night

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.