Mark Whitehead 25 April 2019

Universal Credit ‘key driver’ behind increase in foodbank use

Universal Credit ‘key driver’ behind increase in foodbank use image

The number of food parcels given out across the UK has gone up 73% in five years, according to a major charity.

The Trussell Trust says the 12 months up to March 2019 was the busiest year so far for its foodbanks.

More than 1.5 million three-day emergency food supplies were handed out, a third of them to children, up 18.8% on the previous year.

The trust said the main reasons for people needing emergency food were benefits failing to cover the cost of living and delays or changes to benefits being paid.

Problems with Universal Credit were the 'key driver' of increasing need, accounting for almost half of foodbank referrals.

The trust says ending the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment should be the Government’s priority to reduce the need for foodbanks.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: 'Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty.

'Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics.

'As a priority, we’re urging the Government to end the wait for Universal Credit to ease the pressure on thousands of households.'

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