City Hall's London Food Board is today launching an interactive website designed to help point people towards local organisations and services that can provide food for those in need. The London Food Map will help referral agencies towards their nearest food banks and charities.
It is one of the measures included in the mayor's initiative to tackle food poverty and child hunger in the capital. Other plans include school vegetable patches to increase the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables and extra cooking lessons for pupils.
It comes after a high-profile charity revealed that the summer holidays have lead to a large increase in food bank visitors in Tower Hamlets.
The number of Londoners forced to use food banks to stave off hunger has tripled in the last year.
Rising food prices, unemployment and changes to benefits are the factors forcing families to seek emergency aid according to two charities. They are now urging the government to help. Faye Barker reports.
A new report revealing that more than 500,000 people in the UK rely on food banks is ‘a searing indictment of the government’s failed economic and social polices’, says Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey.
The original concept of food banks was that they should be a last resort safety net – but it now appears that they are becoming a way of life for hundreds of thousands of people through no fault of their own.
The Tories may pretend that food banks are an affirmation of the so-called ‘Big Society’, but the fact that an increasing number of people are using them just to survive is a searing indictment of this government, whose polices are pushing thousands of families into grinding poverty.
The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest provider of food banks, does sterling work, but it can’t be expected to pick up the tab for the failed economic policies of George Osborne and the divisive welfare ‘reforms’ of Iain Duncan Smith.
The Government must "wake up to the human cost" of their economic policies, shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh aid today, after a new report revealed that more than half a million people were using food banks.
Ms Creagh said: "The UK is the seventh richest country in the world yet we face a growing epidemic of hidden hunger with people increasingly unable to meet their family's basic needs.
"These shocking figures show the extent of poverty in the UK, with half a million people now relying on emergency food parcels for help."
The Trussel Trust has revealed that there has been a huge rise in the number of people using food banks in London, after a new report showed that more than half a million people were using them. According to the trust, figures in London show:
More than 42,000 people registered with the Trussel Trust food bank provider in the last year.
17,649 children were among those who registered with the Trussel Trust.
That compares to just 14,569 people using the banks between 2011 and 2012.
The Trussel Trust has told ITV London's Rags Martel that the number of people visiting food banks have "sky-rocketed", after a new report found that more than half a million people were relying on them.
According to the organisation, there was a 180% increase in usage in the capital.
Single mum Jack Monroe, who visits her local food bank once a week, said she finds it an "astounding claim" that the Government believes there is no direct correlation between the increase in the number of people visiting food banks and benefit cuts.
Speaking to Daybreak she said: "The queues at our local food bank have got so great that they are now opening twice a day, and that came in about April [time], and that was in line with the bedroom tax and harder benefit sanctions."
She added, "the biggest surprise for me is the number of people turning up in their work uniforms".
The number of Londoners relying on food hand outs has risen by almost 300% in the last year, according to Oxfam and the Church Action Trust.
The report has found that more than 40,000 people in the capital are registered with a food bank.
The report, called 'Walking the Breadline', says the increase is caused by changes to the benefit system, unemployment, increasing levels of underemployment, low and falling income and rising food and fuel prices.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman has responded to claims that there is a connection between the Government's benefit cuts and the number of people reliant on food banks.
She said the benefits system supports millions of people "so no-one has to struggle to meet their basic needs". She added:
We welcome the contribution voluntary organisations and foodbanks, including the Trussell Trust, play in supporting local communities, beyond the safety net provided by Government. That is why Jobcentre Plus - for the first time - is now referring people to their services.
Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million households better off.