Trussell Trust Report on the Impact of Covid on Food Bank Use

14 September 2020

The Trussell Trust has published a report revealing how coronavirus has affected food bank use.

The new report, entitled 'Lockdown, Lifelines and the Long Haul Ahead', shows a huge rise in people needing  to use a food bank in its network for the first time, with roughly 50% of people who used a food bank at the start of the pandemic had never needed one before.

The report also reveals that families with children are being hit the hardest during the crisis.

The report includes analysis, carried out by Heriot-Watt University with support from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, that estimates if changes aren’t made urgently, there is likely to be a 61%  rise in need at food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network this winter. However, the Trussell Trust makes it clear they believe the situation can be turned around if the evidence is prioritised and acted upon by government. The report makes three recommendations for the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn budget:

  • Protect people’s incomes by locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit brought in at the start of the pandemic 

  • Help people hold on to more of their benefits through the economic crisis by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced

  • Make local safety nets as strong as possible by investing £250m in local welfare assistance in England

This report helps make the case for more government support for families struggling to feed their children well, and we’ll be pushing for government to include funding in the forthcoming budget for the three asks from the National Food Strategy Part One

  • to extend FSM eligibility to children from all families receiving Universal Credit

  • to extend Holiday Activity and Food programme to make summer holiday support available to all children receiving FSM 

  • and to increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week and extend the scheme to every pregnant woman and parent/guardian in receipt of Universal Credit.

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