Foodbank - copyright Jeff Blackler/REX

Christian charities concerned over increased foodbank use

Mon 09 Jun 2014
By Sarah McAllister

There's been a sharp rise in the number of people in the UK receiving help from food banks and aid charities.

New figures from Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust show more than 20 million meals were handed out last year.

That's a jump of 54% on the previous year.

It's thought much of the demand is coming from poor people who live in more affluent areas and are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Cheltenham, Welwyn Garden City and North Lakes have seen the numbers of users double and in some cases treble.

The report blames changes to the benefit system, low wages, zero-hours contracts and rising food and energy prices for the increase.

It points out that in the past 8 years food prices have increased by 43.5%.

During the same period the report claims the poorest 20% of society have seen their disposable income fall by £936 a year.

Liam Purcell from Church Action on Poverty tells Premier government policies are part of the issue.

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