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More than 3.1m emergency food parcels were handed out by Trussell Trust food banks in the past year, a record high for the charity. 

The shocking new statistics reveal a shameful failure of the social security system to support people financially, as the Trussell Trust charity said the number of people using food banks had nearly doubled compared to five years ago. 

Food parcels provided for children made up more than 1.1m of the parcels, while 655,000 people were reported using a food bank for the first time between April last year and March 2024.

Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, Emma Revie, said the historic high level of need for food banks cannot be allowed to continue, with the charity urging politicians to set out how they will implement change ahead of a general election. 

“Food banks are not the answer,” said Revie. “They will be there to support people as long as they are needed, but our political leaders must take bold action to build a future where everyone has enough money to afford the life’s essentials.”

The number of food bank users across the UK has jumped from just over 1,350,000 in 2017/18, to 3,121,000 in the past year. The charity Save the Children said the statistics were “devastating” and reflected the impact the soaring cost of living and inflation has had on households.

More effective employment and financial support for parents, carers and disabled people has been called for, along with more secure and flexible jobs and investment in social housing. The Trussell Trust has laid out a general election manifesto on actions it wants the next UK government to take.

Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “Millions of people in desperate need of food in Britain. One of the richest countries in the world! The Tories are not fit to govern our country.”

General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress Paul Nowak said: “Ministers keep claiming that things are getting better. But these grim statistics show the true face of Tory Britain.

“Over the last 14 years we seen a huge rise in low-paid and insecure work, real wages have flatlined and social security has been cut to the bone. And now unemployment is surging again too.”

Asked for comment on the latest figures, Tory Minister Chris Philp told Sky News this morning that the “government is doing everything it can to support people” and that the government was focused on “making work pay”. 

LFF Contributing Editor Prem Sikka pointed out: “UK has record number of billionaires. Real wage less than in 2008. State Pension less than 50% of minimum wage. Tax the rich. Banish poverty.”

(Image credit: Credit: Newfrontiers)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

The post Record high 3.1m emergency food parcels given out in a year  appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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