People are forced to skip meals to feed their children as food bank use increases

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Post : Fri 29 April 2022

More than two million food parcels were distributed across the UK last year as people resort to skipping meals to feed their children and turning off the heating to cope with the cost of living crisis .

New figures released by the charity Trussell Trust – which provides emergency food to people in need – reveal the scale of the pandemic and the financial difficulties of households before the recent increase in energy costs.

In Flintshire, 7,813 food parcels were distributed to residents of the county borough between April 2021 and March 2022.

In neighboring counties, 6,897 food parcels were administered in Wrexham and 5,064 in Denbighshire.

Over the 12 month period, food banks in Wales provided 131,232 food parcels.

In the UK, that figure was over 2.1 million, of which 830,000 were children.

This represents a 14 percent increase on the same period in 2019/20 – before the pandemic – as more people cannot afford the basic necessities we all need to survive. eat, stay warm, dry and clean.

It is also the first time food banks in the Trussell Trust network have delivered more than two million parcels, outside of 2020/21, at the height of the pandemic.

Food bank officials are now warning of an accelerating crisis across the UK following the cut in Universal Credit, as the cost of living continues to soar. The need for food banks in the Trussell Trust network has accelerated over the past six months:

  • From July to September 2021, an increase of 10% compared to the same period in 2019
  • October – December 2021 saw a 17% increase compared to the same period in 2019
  • From January to February 2022, an increase of 22% compared to the same period in 2020

The charity warns these figures will get worse as the cost of living crisis continues, as it calls on the UK government to act now and help prevent hundreds of thousands more families from being left behind. forced to go to food bank doors.

As the rising energy price cap is just beginning to bite, the charity says that for most people at risk of financial hardship – who cannot work or work longer hours due to disability, family responsibilities or mental health issues – there is very little protection ahead.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: ‘People tell us they are skipping meals so they can feed their children. That they turn off essential devices so that they can allow their children to access the Internet to do their homework.

“How can that be fair in a society like ours? And yet, the food banks in our network tell us it will only get worse as their communities are plunged deeper into financial hardship. No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.

“There is still time for the UK government to do the right thing. We call on the UK government to bring benefits in line with the true cost of living.

“As a first step, benefits should be increased by at least 7%, keeping pace with the increase in the cost of living. In the longer term, we need the government to introduce a commitment into the benefit system to ensure that everyone has enough money in their pockets to avoid falling into destitution.

“By failing to make benefit payments realistic for the times we face, the government now risks turning the cost of living crisis into a national emergency.”

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