Devon and Cornwall food bank users 'more than double'

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The number of people using Devon and Cornwall food banks has more than doubled in the last three years, according to organisers.

The Trussell Trust said 12,115 people were helped by their Cornwall food banks last year, compared with 4,959 in 2011.

In Devon, the figure went up from 5,713 in 2011, to 12,912 last year.

The counties' 17 food banks give out food donated by schools, churches, firms and individuals.

People making collections from food banks are referred by GPs or social workers.

Welfare reforms

The Trussell Trust said that across the UK it had seen a 76% increase in the number of food banks launched since April 2012 and a 170% rise in the numbers of people given emergency food over the same period.

Government ministers have suggested the rise in users is partly explained through the fact the number of food banks had increased.

Jacqui White, manager of the Bodmin food bank in Cornwall, said: "People in need have always been with us and to some degree I guess they always will be.

"But it's our job to alleviate the situation of people right now."

The government said it had taken action to help families with the cost of living through measures like increasing the tax-free personal allowance and freezing fuel duty.

And it said its welfare reforms would improve the lives of some of the poorest families.

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