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Report shows dramatic rise in people turning to food banks for emergency handouts

Campaigners are claiming parts of the region are in the grip of a hunger crisis as a new report lays bare a dramatic rise in people turning to food banks for emergency handouts.

More than 37,000 people in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire received three days emergency food over the last year - that's almost a three fold increase on the previous 12 months.

All this on the day, that new figures show an extra 3,000 people have lost their jobs in our region over the last three months. We have two reports, first this from James Webster.


Rise in food bank users is shocking says Leeds West MP

The number of people relying on food banks in the region has more than tripled in the last year.

Figures from the largest food bank provider - the Trussel Trust - show that more 37,000 people in Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire received three days worth of food from a food bank, compared with just over 10,000 the previous year.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves says the reliance on food banks is shocking, as another opens in her constituency:

Health warning after rise in food bank demand

The leader of a food bank charity has warned if the economic situation does not improve, more and more people will suffer adverse health effects.

In Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, the number of people asking for three days' emergency food supplies from food banks has increased by 260 per cent in one year.

"That 37,403 people in (the region) have received three days' food from a food bank, over triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain.

"But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn't include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no food bank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.

"In the last year we've seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It's been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.

"Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won't see life get better for the poorest anytime soon."

– Chris Mould, The Trussell Trust

Three foodbanks opened in Yorkshire North Lincolnshire in the last year.

260 per cent increase in food bank demand

The number of people who used food banks in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire has risen dramatically.

In the last 12 months demand has increased by 260 per cent compared with the year before.

From April last year more than 37,000 people in the area region received three days' emergency food from food banks run by the Trussell Trust. The figure was 10,380 in 2012-13.

The charity's called for an increase in the minimum wage and a cap on energy prices for those on low incomes.

More people using Sheffield food banks than ever before

Food banks in Sheffield are busier than ever, with many dependent on their services to survive, according to a new report.

Sanctions on those claiming benefits and loss of jobs are being blamed.

Food bank workers say the most vulnerable in society are suffering most and have called for the an overhaul of the benefits system to ensure those most in need don't go hungry.

Staff at one food bank say they have noticed the increase.


Donations wanted for Sleaford Food Bank

Food donations are being sought for the Sleaford's New Life Community Larder which is expecting to provide over 9000 meals to the people of Sleaford and North Kesteven this year.

Sleaford's independent food bank was initiated by Rod & Annie Munro in 2008 with the support of local churches and schools. The Larder celebrates its 5th birthday today at 10.30am with a harvest festival service.

We know that there are families and individuals out there who are already stretched and it only takes one thing to tip them into crisis.

"People assume a lot of things about food banks but they are there to provide short-term help to those who need them.

"For example, if someone loses their job and faces a period of time before they receive benefits or who cannot work due to sickness and has no money coming in

"The aim of the food bank is to give three days' supply of food to help a family or individual over a crisis."

– Rod Munroe, Sleaford Community Larder

The charity said the dramatic increase in the use of its food banks was set to continue as poorer families struggled to cope financially in the wake of welfare reforms. Over 950 and adults and children have been supported so far locally equating to a 90% increase on last year.

We're seeing more people experiencing food poverty, and the current austerity measures means that people have fewer options than in the past. Life is very tough for some and is getting tougher all the time.

"Since April, many people referred to us report that they are struggling to live on the money they have and it's getting worse due to the changes in the welfare system

"We don't want people to think families who use a food bank are scroungers. Some people are living on such a small amount of money and it is not just those on benefits. Families on low wages are also really feeling the pinch."

– Anne Munroe, Sleaford Community Larder

PM on foodbanks: "These are tough economic times"

Asked whether David Cameron was concerned about the massive increase in people using foodbanks under his Government, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said:

Recognising that these are tough economic times is why the Government has been taking the action it is in a number of areas to help families, including through measures around fuel duty and council tax.

– David Cameron
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