food poverty

Food poverty on the rise as cost of living crisis continues to worsen

Daily news

With fuel prices rising further making consumer goods unaffordable for many, food poverty is escalating too. Food banks are running low on stocks, and an Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) survey has indicated that 95 per cent of their members attribute the record-level demand to the cost of living crisis. In an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the IFAN is demanding urgent action “to reduce the rapidly rising levels of poverty, destitution, and hunger in our communities.”

Representing more than 550 independent food banks and food aid providers all over Britain, the IFAN has seen an unprecedented rise in demand since autumn 2021. The dramatic increase has been experienced all across the UK. In all areas, food banks are now supporting thousands of people who’ve previously never availed of support. Apart from people on Universal Credit, an increasing number of people in full-time employment are seeking help. The demand for unperishable goods has skyrocketed as people are no longer in a position to pay the electricity cost associated with refrigerators. At the same time, financial and food donations have dropped off considerably across the UK, leaving food banks at risk of running out of money and supplies.

The IFAN has carried out a detailed survey into recent demand increases and found that, since the start of 2022, 93 per cent of its members experienced a marked rise in demand. Furthermore, 80 per cent of food banks reported supply problems over the last four months, and over three-quarters of organisations saw food and financial donations dwindle. 95 per cent of those surveyed blame the cost of living crisis for the sharp rise in food poverty.

In a press release, the IFAN shared the experiences of some of its members.

Charlotte White, of IFAN member Earlsfield Foodbank, Wandsworth said: “Guest
numbers are continuing to go up week after week just as our donation levels are
going down. We are having to compromise more and more, and we are deeply
concerned about what the future holds for all concerned. More than ever, we are
seeing people who are in work struggling to afford food. Everyone deserves an
adequate income and food banks have reached breaking point.”

Emma Greenough of IFAN member The Welcome Centre, Huddersfield said:
“The number of children we’re supporting now is up 132% on pre-Covid levels.
Children who genuinely are going without because their families can’t put food on the
table. And we all know how this can affect a child’s mental health, ability to learn and
future prospects.”

Rosie Oakley of IFAN member Fair Frome, Somerset said:
“Since the start of 2022, we have seen a steady increase of first-time users to the
food bank, nearly all of them have been in full-time employment and are struggling to
cope with the cost of living. Since the beginning of April, the numbers have increased
massively with the numbers of families accessing the food bank doubling within the
month. It’s hard to anticipate what will happen in the coming months with demands
for our services rising dramatically.”

The IFAN has penned an open letter to the PM and Chancellor urging immediate action whilst outlining underlying food poverty causes such as the “lengthy Universal Credit waiting times, social security payment levels being insufficient to meet living costs, the benefit cap, the two-child limit, sanctions, inadequate wages, and No Recourse to Public Funds status.”

Food poverty in Britain – what politicians are saying

MP, Lee Anderson blamed people’s inability to cook for food bank use, Gordon Brown said NHS workers shouldn’t need food banks, and Jeremy Corbyn shares a map of food banks on Twitter.

Less Anderson has been heavily criticised for comments he made in the House of Commons when expressing the view that people were using food banks because they lack cooking skills.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, speaking at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “Thousands of nurses report that, because of the cost of living crisis, they are skipping meals so they can feed their children.”

“I want an end to food bank Britain by putting an end to poverty and low-pay Britain.”

And on Twitter, Jeremy Corbyn shared a map showing the hundreds of food banks dotted across Great Britain tweeting:

“Every dot on this map is a food bank. Every dot represents amazing people doing their best to help others who have been ripped off by the economic system and abandoned by the government. Real patriotism means looking out for everyone in society.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *