Study: 'Clear evidence' links welfare cuts and food banks

"Clear evidence" links an increasing number of people turning to food banks with welfare and government budget cuts, researchers have claimed.

A team of scientists, led by a team at Oxford University, examined official government data as well as statistics from food bank charity the Trussell Trust to try to determine why people were in need of help.

The research was carried out by a team led by Oxford University Credit: PA

The number of food banks opened by the Christian charity rose from 29 in 2009/10 to 251 in 2013/14, when it helped supply food parcels to more than 900,000 children and adults.

They found that there was a 52 per cent chance of a food bank opening in an area which had seen an average of a three per cent budget cut for two years running.

In areas where there had been no spending cuts, the figure dropped to just 14.4 per cent.

More food banks are opening in areas experiencing greater cuts in spending on local services and central welfare benefits and higher unemployment rates.

The rise in food bank use is also concentrated in communities where more people are experiencing benefit sanctions.

Food parcel distribution is higher in areas where food banks are more common and better established, but our data also show that the local authorities with greater rates of sanctions and austerity are experiencing greater rates of people seeking emergency food assistance.

– Study, published in the British Medical Journal