Food Bank Britain April 2014 Update By Keith Taylor MEP
Introduction When I published Food Bank Britain earlier this year, I was shocked by the scale of food poverty in the South East. My report compared data from previous years, and predicted a rise of 60% in people accessing emergency food aid through a food bank. Now that the actual figures have been released, it seems that the scale of the problem is much worse. Instead of a 60% rise, there has been a 103% rise in food bank use. My report predicted 73 000 people would access emergency food aid through a food bank – the real figure for 2013/14 is 93 388 people. Seven more food banks have been opened by the Trussell Trust, taking the total number to 45 across the region (plus at least 22 food banks run by other organisations). Worst affected is Berkshire, which has seen a 306% rise in people accessing food banks. This is followed by Surrey at 237%, and East Sussex at 129%. What’s clear is that thousands of people across the UK are struggling to get by. The so-called ‘economic recovery’ being talked about by the Government is leaving behind the people hit hardest by the financial crisis of 2008. As I’ve travelled around South East England, visiting food banks and meeting people who are forced to seek emergency handouts to feed their families, the stark inequalities in this country have become increasingly clear to me. Whilst City of London bankers are earning millions, everyone else has suffered the biggest drop in real wages since records began. In addition to declining wages, the surge in food bank use is also a product of a ‘crackdown’ on benefits that is leaving the poorest people in our society facing potential destitution. These new statistics show that Britain is becoming a Food Bank Economy. Radical changes are required to steer us away from a race to the bottom on wages and the dismantling of our social security system. The poverty faced by millions in Britain is political. It’s time that politicians make the changes needed to ensure that nobody in the world’s sixth largest economy relies on food handouts to feed their families.
Food Bank Use Soaring in South East England The figures below are from the Trussel Trust. The statistics are for the number of food bank users at Trussel Trust food banks across South East England. Statistics for individual food banks are not available at this time.
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