More people in Northumberland relying on food banks

More people are relying on food banks in Northumberland than during the coronavirus pandemic last year, new figures from the Trussell Trust show.

More people have needed food banks this year, compared to the first year of the pandemic.
More people have needed food banks this year, compared to the first year of the pandemic.

The charity said it was not right that so many people across the UK were facing destitution and warned the need for food banks would rise over the winter.

In Northumberland, 761 emergency food parcels – containing three or seven days' worth of supplies – were handed out by the Trussell Trust between April and September.

This was up from 509 during the same period in 2020.

They were among 935,749 parcels handed out by the charity across the UK over the six-month period, including 43,141 in the North East.

Though below the record 1.3 million dispensed during this period last year, it was 11% more than in 2019.

This means around 5,100 emergency food parcels were provided for people across the UK every day, including almost 2,000 for children.

The Trussell Trust said it expected this to rise to more than 7,000 a day in December, as poorer families struggle with rising fuel costs, inflation and the recent removal of the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift.

The figures do not include the number of people helped by thousands of other groups providing food aid such as community organisations and independent food banks.

Emma Revie, Trussell Trust chief executive, said: “Everyone in the UK should be able to afford the essentials – to buy their own food and heat their homes.

“Yet food banks in our network continue to see more and more people facing destitution with an increase in food parcels going to children. This is not right.”

She added: “The answer must be for us to have the stability of a strong enough social security system to protect any one of us when we need it."

More than 350,000 parcels went to children between April and September this year – 15% more than in 2019.

In Northumberland, 260 were handed to youngsters, compared to 164 last year

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “Thousands of food parcels given out every day to kids is frankly a disgrace – Britain deserves better than this.”