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Tenfold food bank rise in two years says south east Green MEP report
More cash-strapped people than ever will be relying on emergency food handouts this Christmas.
Figures from The Trussell Trust show the number of people using food banks in Sussex has soared to 12,483 this year, up from 3,254 last year and more than ten times the 1,079 the previous year.
At the same time a report, called ‘Hungry Britain’, shows a 60% increase in the number of people using food banks in south-east England between April and November this year compared with the same period last year.
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With spending pressures mounting at Christmas and wages stagnating across the UK, more families than ever are believed to have used food banks over the festive period.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the region and author of the report, said: “Food banks are a lifeline to those in need and, sadly, one of Britain’s booming industries.
“Across the south-east demand for emergency food is soaring while people’s wages stagnate and the cost of living shoots up.
“This report reveals a shameful side of the British economy that the Government is trying to hide.
“In the sixth largest economy in the world no-one should be relying on emergency food handouts at Christmas, it’s a national disgrace.”
According to Mr Taylor’s report, more people have used food banks in West Sussex than in the entire 2012/13 year.
It adds there are now five food banks in West Sussex, compared with one in 2011/12.
Mr Taylor, who used to be a Brighton and Hove city councillor, said the reason for the explosion of people needing handouts is largely benefitsrelated with 33% facing benefits delays, 19% citing benefits changes and 18.5% pointing to lowincomes as their reason for needing help.
Mr Taylor said: “The Government must release their report on food banks as soon as possible.
“It’s clear that we have a desperate situation in this country that needs addressing, yet the Government seems to want to avoid changing direction.
“To address the food bank epidemic we need to see people paid decent wages and a social security system that doesn’t let people slip through the net into desperation.”
Chris Mould, executive chairman of The Trussell Trust said: “The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable. It’s scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people.”
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