The public is being encouraged to donate to foodbanks over the festive period, with December seeing a surge in demand for food parcels for struggling families.
The Trussell Trust has said that demand for food parcels can rise by up to 53 per cent in December in comparison to other months of the year.
Trussell Trust CEO David McAuley said: “Winter is the hardest time of year for people living on the breadline; many will face stark choices between eating and heating.
“We need to ensure that people on low incomes or in insecure work have enough to live on. The introduction of a national living wage is a great start, but more can be done for those in low paid work and unable to work. We need to listen to the experiences of people facing hunger and poverty, and work to find solutions to this problem.”
Academic research continues to show that the Conservative government’s benefit sanctions have had the effect of significantly increasing food poverty across the UK.
Research by the University of Glasgow has shown that the benefit sanctions regime imposed by the Conservative government has “detrimental financial, material, emotional and health impacts” and pushes those on JSA and ESA to rely on foodbanks.
A separate report by the University of Oxford found a ‘robust link’ between the numbers of benefit sanctions and demand for foodbanks.
Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, said: “Foodbanks provide an invaluable service, especially at this time of year when hardworking families find their budget squeezed even further. I recently witnessed their great work first hand when I visited local foodbanks within my constituency. Although foodbanks and their volunteers do an amazing job, I do find it unpalatable that people have to rely upon them to feed themselves and their families. While the Conservatives are enjoying their turkey with all the trimmings over the festive period, they should take a few minutes to reflect upon the impact their policies of austerity and benefit sanctions are having upon those who were not born with a silver spoon.”
Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons, from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 400 foodbanks. In 2015/16, the Trust gave 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis.