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Oxfam fears rise in foodbank use is 'tip of the iceberg'

Oxfam's Director of UK Poverty, Chris Johnes, has warned that welfare reforms could tip even more people into food poverty:

"These shocking figures show that a perfect storm of spiralling living costs, lack of decent, secure jobs and benefit changes are making it impossible for many people to feed themselves or their families.

"It's clear there is a massive hole in the safety net when so many more people are being forced to rely on emergency food handouts.

"We are worried this could be just the tip of the iceberg as changes to the welfare system already in the pipeline could rip apart the safety net with devastating consequences for those who rely on it."

– Chris Johnes, Oxfam


Britain cannot ignore 'the hunger on our doorstep'

Food prices are rising and many family budgets are falling Credit: Reuters

Chris Mould, the Trussell Trust 's Executive Chairman, said:

"We cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep. Politicians across the political spectrum need to recognise the real extent of UK food poverty and create fresh policies that better address its underlying causes.

"This is more important than ever as the impact of the biggest reforms to the welfare state since it began start to take effect."

Government already providing 'safety net' for families

The government has said that it already provides a "safety net" to benefit claimants who need help with food, adding that some of the increase seen by the Trussell Trust could be due to Job Centres referring people to their service:

"The government already provides a safety net for essentials like food and housing through the benefits system and claimants can also request a benefit advance or help from their local authority where needed.

"We welcome the contribution voluntary organisations including the Trussell Trust play in supporting local communities, beyond the help 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 people better off.

"And by next year, we will have taken two million of the lowest earners out of paying tax altogether."

– Spokesperson, Department for Work and Pension
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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

Concern for rising number of people depending on food banks

People in need of emergency food supplies in the North East is ten times higher than it was in 2011.

This year's figures are shocking compared to 2011 when only 700 people needed support.

  • 10,510 people in the North East received food in 2012-13
  • 3,452 were children
  • 741 people in the North East received food 2011-12

Food-boxes contain a three day supply of non-perishable foods like tinned fruit as well as pasta and cereals. Dieticians ensure food-boxes are nutritionally balanced before they are given out. The number of food banks in our region has almost doubled since last year.

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