A telephone ‘hotline’ connecting foodbanks and local jobcentres should be launched to help those needing emergency food parcels, the Trussell Trust has said.
The anti-poverty charity said the DWP hotline would support those in crisis more quickly and efficiently.
The call comes as new figures show the Trussell Trust issued more than half a million emergency food parcels in the last six months. Benefit delays and changes were the biggest reason for foodbank use, accounting for 44% of all referrals.
‘Many foodbanks now host independent welfare and debt advisers but they cannot solve all the issues,’ said David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust. ‘To stop UK hunger we must make sure the welfare system works fairly and compassionately, stopping people getting to a point where they have no money to eat.
‘It feels like we could be seeing a new era at the DWP with a consultation on Work Capability Assessments and willingness to engage in dialogue with charities working on the front line. A telephone hotline could build on this and go a long way to improving foodbanks ability to help get people out of a crisis faster.’
The charity said foodbank managers, volunteers and welfare advisers spend a significant amount of time on hold to DWP phone lines on behalf of people in crisis.