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Iain Duncan Smith: UK food bank use is 'tiny'

Credit: PA Wire

Food bank use is "tiny" in comparison to Germany, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has claimed.

The senior Tory minister said were many reasons why people relied on them and that insisting it was just to do with benefits was "quite wrong".

His comments come after the Church of England-backed Feeding Britain report identified delays in welfare payments and sanctioning of claimants as key factors driving disadvantaged households to food banks.

Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC's Sunday Politics that people going back to work were less likely to want to use food banks.

He added:

In Germany, food banks are used every week by 1.5 million people. It is tiny in proportion here compared to a place like Germany which has more generous benefits and in which you have a higher level of pay.

So just saying it is to do with benefits is quite wrong.

What I do say is there are lots of other reasons lots of people go to food banks.

– Iain Duncan Smith

He also defended the speed with which benefits are processed, saying that when the Coalition came into power only 88-89% of payments were on time compared to 96-97% now.


IDS accuses foodbank charity of 'scaremongering'

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has refused requests to meet the leaders of a major foodbank charity and accused them of "scaremongering", it emerged tonight.

The Conservative Cabinet Minister told the Trussell Trust he denied claims that benefits reforms were linked to the rocketing number of people turning to it for help and suggested the organisation was political.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Since April more than 500,000 people, of which one third are children, have received emergency supplies from the 400 food banks run by the Trussell Trust charity and it has asked on a number of occasions for meetings with Department for Work and Pensions ministers.

But Mr Duncan Smith criticised the "political messaging of your organisation", which "despite claiming to be nonpartisan" had "repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform", according to the Observer.

1.5 million British pensioners 'in food poverty'

More than 1.5 million pensioners in the UK are now living in food poverty and are set to be hit the hardest this winter, according to new research.

The total number of over 65s living in food poverty has reached 1.5 million. Credit: PA

The report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research said the rising cost of essentials such as food, has affected over 65s the hardest as their weekly shopping bill reaches an all-time high.

The study shows the over 65s will spend an average of £699 on food between October and December this year, an increase of £138 compared to the same quarter five years ago.