- There has been a growing interest in food banks in Parliament and among the media, prompted in large part by evidence of a rapid growth in the numbers of people turning to food banks to feed themselves and their families.
- The coordinating body of the UK’s largest network of food banks is The Trussell Trust. In an April 2013 press release, the Trust reported a 170 per cent increase in the numbers of people using their food banks between 2011-12 and 2012-13, a rise from 128,697 to 346,992.
- Over 350,000 people received emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks between April and September 2013, triple the number helped in the same period in 2012 and more than in the entire financial year 2012-13.
- The causes of the rise in the use of food banks are controversial and somewhat unclear. However, the Trussell Trust estimated that around half the referrals to its food banks in 2012-13 were due to benefits issues: 30 per cent were as a result of benefit delays, around 15 per cent due to benefit changes, and around 4 per cent followed refusal of a Social Fund Crisis Loan.
- This briefing summarises what is known so far about food banks. It will be of interest to members and officers in all councils who work with local residents and communities, to officers in upper tier councils directly involved with the local welfare schemes and to partners in the third sector, particularly those concerned about food security, poverty, and welfare reform.
LGiU policy briefings