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Foodbank demand increase ‘shocking’, says Bradford charity boss
The number of hard-pressed people seeking help from foodbanks has risen 78 per cent in the last six months, the Citizens Advice charity has said, with benefit changes only making the problem worse.
The figure represents the percentage of Britons who have made enquiries of foodbanks, which supply food for free to the extremely needy.
The nation’s worst affected region was the West Midlands, with 779 enquiries in the last three months alone - and a six-month rise of 142per cent.
New figures show a rise in enquiries about foodbanks in Citizens Advice Bureaux in almost every region of the country.
Lashman Singh, founder of the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank, called the figures “shocking” but warned the introduction of Universal Credit, when recipients get a lump sum, would make the issue worse because not everyone knew how to manage their finances.
Monthly food parcel distribution rose to 722 in Bradford – compared with 109 in July, 2011 – and volunteers are spending more than £1,000 a month on food staples, following a drop in donations. Mr Singh said that most months, 650 food parcels were doled out, compared to 120 a month two years ago.
“It is going to get even worse when Universal Credit comes into play,” he said. “Some people can’t manage their finances and when see a lump sum of money like that they have to realise it has to last four weeks. But I am shocked by these numbers and as a charity we end up picking the pieces up.”
A YouGov survey by Citizens Advice Bureaux shows that over half of those on low incomes have had to resort to savings accounts in the past six months to meet living costs.
And 37 per cent on low incomes report that they have no savings to turn to in an emergency, meaning many have no safety net when they run out of money.
The charity has warned that its bureaux are beginning to see people in employment seek emergency food supplies before they get paid, despite positive unemployment figures earlier this week. Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Foodbanks have no place in modern Britain.”
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