A study into the extent of hunger in the UK has revealed that nearly three-quarters of a million households were supported by an independent food bank or a food bank in the Trussell Trust network in 2019/20 alone.
The latest State of Hunger report from the Trussell Trust has revealed the extreme poverty faced by people at food banks going into the pandemic. It found that on average people who use food banks have just £248 a month to survive on after housing costs.
The research found that around 700,000 households – or 2.5% of all households – in the UK were forced to visit an independent food bank or a food bank in the Trussell Trust network in 2019/20.
Around 95% of people referred to Trussell Trust food banks in 2020 were classed as ‘destitute’, meaning they were unable to afford to eat or stay warm and dry.
The study also revealed that 62% of working age people referred to Trussell Trust food banks during the same period were disabled – three times the rate in the general working age population.
Nearly 20% of households referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network during the pandemic were single parents – more than twice the rate in the general population.
‘How can anyone in this country stay warm and dry and buy food on just £248 a month after rent?’ said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
‘People struggling in extreme poverty are pushed to the doors of food banks because they don’t have enough money to survive. Hunger in the UK isn’t about food – it’s about people not being able to afford the basics.
‘We know we can change this. We need to change the conversation around poverty and take action together. We need government at all levels to commit to ending the need for food banks once and for all and to develop a plan to do so.
‘It’s time for government to make this a priority – to recognise that it must be an essential part of their levelling up agenda to work towards a hunger free future where we can all afford the basics.’