Food bank referrals surpass 100,000 in Wales for first time as the Trussell Trust calls for end to Universal Credit five week wait
Number of food parcels given out across Wales soars 43.42% in five years*
New data released today shows April 2018 to March 2019 to be the busiest year for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. During the past year, more than 113,000 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in Wales. Almost 41,000 of these went to children. This is a 15% increase on the previous year.
During the same period, the Trussell Trust’s UK food bank network distributed 1,583,668 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, an 18.8% increase on the previous year. 577,618 of these went to children.
The main reasons for people needing emergency food are benefits consistently not covering the cost of living (31.94%), and delays (22.53%) or changes (17.98%) to benefits being paid.**
Universal Credit is not the only benefit payment people referred to food banks have experienced problems with, but issues with moving onto the new system are a key driver of increasing need. 51% of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefits being paid in Wales were linked to Universal Credit.***
Susan Lloyd-Selby, Wales Operations Manager for the Trussell Trust, explains:
“We are seeing record numbers of people in Wales walking through the doors of food banks because they simply cannot afford food. This isn’t right.
“No one should be left hungry or destitute and we owe it to each other to make sure sufficient financial support is in place when we need it most.
“Our benefits system should anchor us all from being swept into poverty with Universal Credit being 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.
“No charity can replace the dignity of having financial security. That’s why in the long-term, we’re calling on for benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, to help ensure we are all anchored from poverty.”