Demand Soaring at Food Banks as Virus Crisis Goes On
September 15, 2020
Demand for the services of food banks has risen steeply in 2020 and looks set to continue increasing throughout the autumn and winter months.
The Trussell Trust, the UK’s leading food bank charity, has said that tens of thousands of people have received food parcels from its services for the first time this year, with coronavirus having pushed a huge number of individuals and families into serious financial hardship.
During the early months of the pandemic, roughly half of all those who requested food parcels from the Trussell Trust were doing so for the first time, the charity has said.
Expectations are currently that there will be something like a 61 per cent increase in demand for free food parcels between October and December this year.
The latest data shows that families with children are generally among those being hit hardest as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt across the country.
Hundreds of thousands of free food parcels are now being distributed by Trussell Trust facilities every quarter, with major concerns being raised at the prospect of a huge wave of redundancies hitting the UK during the final few months of 2020.
With that partly in mind, the charity has said it wants to see increases to Universal Credit payments made permanent and benefit debt reductions being scrapped “until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced”.
A key concern among anti-poverty campaigners is that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to close at the end of October, with the likely result being many thousands of households losing their jobs and their incomes in the coming months.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Our research finds that Covid-19 has led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time.
“This is not right. If we don’t take action now, there will be further catastrophic rises in poverty in the future. With the furlough scheme set to wind down, we must act now to put in place protection for each other.”