Archbishop of Canterbury says it is a 'scandal' that so many need foodbanks

Photo: The Trussell TrustThe Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to the latest Trussell Trust figures on food bank use.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the latest figures on foodbank use in Britain as 'utterly shocking' and said that it is 'a scandal that in 21st century Britain we have need of them at all'.

Justin Welby's comments on Facebook come after The Trussell Trust reported that between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, its foodbank network provided 1,182,954 three day emergency food supplies, adding that many households in the UK are just one crisis away from needing assistance of this kind.

Of the total number of food supplies provided, 436,938 went to children.

'I am grateful for the tens of thousands of incredible volunteers – many of them Christians, but not exclusively – who give their time to ensure those who are hungry are helped,' the Archbishop said.

'There is now a network of approximately 2,000 foodbanks right across the United Kingdom. There are collection points in many churches, and baskets and boxes in most supermarkets encouraging people to donate.

'We must also look for ways to ensure that foodbanks do not simply become a staple necessity, and consider how we can help those in real poverty move to a better place in their lives.

'Our Christian calling both reminds us to care for those in need and urges us to speak out and to challenge inequality where we see it.

'God, grant the gift of generosity to those of us who have plenty, and mercy to those who do not. Give us all courage and wisdom to be prophetic and campaign for change, and compassion to care for those in need.'

Trussell Trust data also reveal that benefit delays and changes remain the biggest cause of referral to a foodbank, accounting for 43 per cent of all referrals (26 per cent benefit delay; 17 per cent benefit change), a slight rise on last year's 42 per cent. Low income has also risen as a referral cause from 23 per cent to 26 per cent.

You can find out more about how to support foodbanks at The Trussell Trust and Feeding Britain.