New research predicts food banks will need to give out six emergency food parcels a minute this winter.
The Trussell Trust has released a report detailing how coronavirus has affected food bank use, with a huge rise in the number of first-time food bank users.
Analysis carried out by Heriot-Watt University, with support from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, estimates that if changes aren’t made this autumn there is likely to be a 61% rise in need for food banks this winter. Equating to 846,000 food parcels being given out.
The charity warns that, with mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early nineties, there will be an increase in poverty. The trust said 670,000 additional people set to be classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food.
But the situation can be turned around, the charity says. The government response to protect jobs and incomes during this pandemic has shown what a difference can be made when support structures are put in place.
The much-needed rises to some benefit levels and the job retention scheme prevented many more people from facing destitution. But the charity warns that with these schemes set to end, the government must act now to ensure we are all protected.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: ‘Communities throughout the country have shown enormous resilience in helping more people than ever before. But food banks and other community charities cannot continue to pick up the pieces. None of us should need a charity’s help to put food on the table.
‘Our research finds that Covid-19 has led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time. This is not right. If we don’t take action now, there will be further catastrophic rises in poverty in the future.”
‘But it doesn’t have to be like this. The pandemic has exposed the power of what happens when we stand together in the face of adversity. We must harness this power to create the changes needed to prevent many more people being locked into poverty this winter.
‘With the furlough scheme set to wind down, we must act now to put in place protection for each other. The Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review present a pivotal opportunity to put things right. We must take it to help us weather the storm left in the wake of Covid-19.’
Photo Credit – The Trussell Trust