No sign of recovery for poorest, says foodbank operator

The Trussell Trust's 201 foodbanks across the UK are supported by more than 4,000 volunteersPhoto: The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust, a Christian charity that partners with churches and communities to open foodbanks across the UK, has reported that over 500,000 people have received at least three days' emergency food since April this year.

With almost 400 foodbanks currently running nationwide, the charity has experienced a huge increase in demand in recent months, which stems from increased poverty in the UK despite the government's assurance of an economic upturn.

Chris Mould, Executive Chairman of the Trussell Trust, says, "We can't ignore the reality for millions of British citizens who are facing a tougher winter than ever.

"Real wages are down, the cost of food is rising rapidly and so is the cost of heating your home. Recovery is not filtering down.

"Low-income families are teetering on a financial knife-edge," he says.

He is calling for urgent action on food poverty in the UK, and an inquiry into the causes of hunger across the nation.

Mr Mould also mentioned the recent petition by Jack Monroe from Southend-on-Sea, who spent the Christmas of 2011 with no heating, food or electricity, and eventually found help from a local foodbank.

Ms Monroe is calling parliament to address the issue of food poverty, and is asking why a country that is considered to be one of the most civilised in the modern world has the need for foodbanks at all.

"I don't think this is acceptable in the seventh richest country in the world – and I'd really like to know the reasons why it's happening so we can stop it," Ms Monroe says.

Mr Mould has praised the public support for the petition, saying, "It proves that ordinary people are deeply concerned about the distressing poverty they're seeing in their communities".

He said he was "delighted" at Labour's announcement of an Opposition Day debate on UK hunger on 18 December, labelling it "an important step in paying this urgent issue the attention it deserves".