Food banks have provided over 2.1 million food parcels to people across the UK in the past year, new figures from the Trussell Trust have revealed.
The charity said the figure increased by 14% compared to the same period in 2019/20.
This would mark the first time food banks in the Trussell’s Trust network have exceeded 2 million packages excluding the yeah 2020/2021 during the height of the pandemic.
Of the 2.1 million parcels this year, a staggering 830,000 were provided for children – 15% higher than the figure for 2019/20.
On top of this, food banks in the network underwent the busiest winter, excluding 2020’s pandemic figures, providing 1.2 million parcels in the second half of the year alone.
Food bank managers have also seen a rise is food bank usage following the £20 Universal Credit cut, with January to February seeing a 22% rise compared to the same period in 2020.
“The people who come in are telling me they’re scared. People are beside themselves about what the next six months will bring,” a food bank manager shared.
The figures come as one in three people on Universal Credit are already skipping meals with the Trussell Trust saying the government is “still choosing not to protect people already struggling to make ends meet. ”
Additionally, the charity has warned that the Chancellor’s decision to not raise benefits in line with inflation, as well as bringing the “largest welfare cut since the Second World War” has meant the government has “failed to create any security for people on the lowest incomes.”
“There is still time for the UK government to do the right thing. We are calling on the UK government to bring benefits in line with the true cost of living,” Trussell Trust CEO Emma Revie.
“As an urgent first step benefits should be increased by at least 7%, keeping pace with increases in the cost of living. In the longer term, we need the government to introduce a commitment in the benefits system to ensure that everyone has enough money in their pockets to be prevented from falling into destitution.”