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Food Banks – Emergency Only?


Why are people turning to them, and is this through poverty,  levels of benefits  and wages and are they being used as a last resort?

Food banks should be a last resort. But in the last few years their number has increased exponentially. What we’ve lacked so far is concrete evidence on why people end up at the foodbank doors. A new report from CPAG, Oxfam, The Trussell Trust and the Church of England changes that by revealing that while ill health, bereavement, caring responsibilities or relationship breakdown had brought users to the edge, it was gaps in the social safety net which forced them to turn to foodbanks for help. Sanctions, delays in decisions on payments and being declared ‘fit for work’ for people receiving ESA were all common reasons for referral.

Research published today by Child Poverty Action Group, the Church of England, Oxfam and the Trussell Trust is an attempt to take the politics out of the food banks debate. The research takes a robust, multi-method approach to increase our understanding of the reasons why food bank use has been on the rise: 40 in-depth interviews from seven food banks across the country; data from more than 900 clients at outlets in three of those areas regarding the reasons for their referral; and analysis of a caseload of 178 clients accessing a welfare advice service at one food bank.

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