‘Tsunami of need’ warning as foodbanks are at busiest ever

Foodbank charity the Trussell Trust has said it had its busiest period ever recorded between April and September this year.

About 116,000 emergency food parcels were distributed to people in Scotland – a 34% increase on the same period last year, with 40,000 children included in the figure, representing a 29% increase.

The charity said this represents the most parcels ever distributed to households with children.

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Figures, compiled by an Ipsos poll of more than 2000 adults who visited foodbanks between April and September, also show about 27,000 people were referred to a foodbank for the first time, representing a 33% increase from 2021.

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Almost 1.3 million emergency food parcels were provided to people facing hardship across the UK in the same period, prompting a “tsunami of need” across the country, as people struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.

Need for food is outstripping the number of donations that the Trussell Trust’s 121 foodbanks are receiving, prompting the charity to launch an emergency appeal to ensure foodbanks can meet the “alarming” levels of need in the community.

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Food banks are at “breaking point” both physically and mentally, the charity warned, and are set to face the hardest year yet as they expect to provide 7,000 emergency food parcels a day on average across the UK in the next six months.

Research to be released by the Trussell Trust next year finds one in five people referred to a food bank in the UK live in households where at least one person is in work.

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Survival rations: Trussell Trust Foodbank said it had its busiest period ever recorded between April and September this year.

The charity said they see more and more people who are working, but still struggling to afford the essentials.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to deliver the autumn budget next week and the charity is calling for the UK Government to “act decisvely” to target support to individuals in hardship.

A cost of living payment in July correlated with a small dip in need at foodbanks.

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However, the charity argued that short-term interventions are “not sustainable” for the Government or dignified for people who are struggling.

“Everyone in Scotland should be able to afford the essentials – to buy their own food and heat their homes,” said Polly Jones, who is head of the Trussell Trust in Scotland.

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“This has got harder in the last six months, with 27,000 people needing a food parcel for the first time and a huge increase in children needing our support. This is not right,” she added.

Ms Jones urged the Scottish Government to take further action to deliver “immediate and direct” cash support to households as well as urgently publishing an overdue national plan to end the need for food banks.

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A UK Treasury spokesperson said: “Countries around the world are facing rising costs, driven by Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, and we know this is affecting people here in the UK.

“The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save the typical household around £700 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. In addition, we have provided at least an extra £1,200 of cost-of-living support to eight million of the most vulnerable households.”

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