The Trussell Trust’s latest figures, released today, show that proportionately more people are being referred to foodbanks with benefit related problems since April’s welfare reforms. This new data comes less than a week after Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, refuted the link between welfare and people turning to foodbanks.
- 150,000 people received food from Trussell Trust foodbanks from April – June
- Numbers up 200% on previous year
- 52% referred as a result of problems with benefits.
During the same period last year, 43 percent of referrals were due to benefits problems. This represents an overall increase of 21 percent in people referred to foodbanks with benefits problems.
Breaking this figure down further, the percentage of referrals due to benefit changes made a significant jump from 12% percent to 19 percent, whilst increases due to benefit delays rose from 31 to 33 percent.
Foodbanks are reporting that the main reason for the proportionate increases in referrals due to benefit problems is largely the implementation of April’s welfare reforms.
Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould says:
‘There is a clear link between benefit delays or changes and people turning to foodbanks, and that the situation has got worse in the last three months. Since April’s welfare reforms we’ve seen more people referred to foodbanks because of benefit delays or changes.”
“We are calling on the government to listen to what’s happening on the ground, to realise that when the welfare system breaks down, it means families go hungry. Many of these issues are avoidable but they must be addressed urgently, before universal credit is rolled out in October. This is not about politics, it’s about recognising that we’re living in a difficult economic climate where more people in poverty are struggling to cope and that we need to work together to find solutions so that the poorest and most vulnerable don’t go hungry.”
On top of the intervention from the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this week, this can serve only to increase the pressure on the Department for Work and Pensions to start to engage seriously with the fact that there is an increasingly well established link between welfare problems and the growing demand for foodbanks.
This is the message that I will be taking in person, when I give evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee next Wednesday.
Wish me luck!
Thanks to Trussell Trust for providing the information contained in this blogpost.