Huge rise in numbers of people using food banks

  Forum Editor 06:58 16 Apr 2014

This is an interesting story

An increase from 314,000 to 913,000 food parcels distributed in one year is massive.

  carver 08:11 16 Apr 2014

Sorry but I fail to see why you are surprised about this, it's been talked about for a few months.

Since these new benefit cuts have been in place families have been put in poverty, I mentioned in another posting how a neighbour of my son has had his benefit cut by £10 a week and he has had a further ( I think ) £15 cut because of a "spare" bedroom, he can't live.

This mess of a government live in a different world to most people and dare I say even some people on this forum have no idea what it's like to live from day to day not knowing how to pay for either food or bills never mind clothes.

And if anybody says he should get a job they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

  fourm member 08:46 16 Apr 2014

And, of course, it is much more complicated that the headline suggests.

Awareness of food banks has grown and that will, inevitably, result in greater take up. There is no doubt that a lot of the stigma of accepting 'handouts' has gone meaning that more people who need this support are willing to accept it.

The report doesn't provide enough information to be able to see the underlying growth. It says that established food banks saw a 51% increase in new clients but gives no figures for the number of such places nor the actual numbers of clients using established food banks.

Without a breakdown of parcels from newly established food banks versus from those that were in operation for two years or more, it is impossible to get to a full understanding of the situation.

The report does say that the largest reason for people using food banks was delay in benefit payments. But, again, it is impossible to tell whether this results from an increase in delay in payments as a result of more thorough checking of entitlements or from people who would have scraped by but are now willing to go to a food bank to cover the gap.

The BBC report itself doesn't make sense. The first paragraph says 913,000 food parcels were handed out. Then, under the sub-heading 'Terrible' it says;

'In all, 913,000 people received three days of emergency food supplies in the past 12 months.

But more than a third of those cases represented repeat visits.'

So, which is it? 913,000 parcels or 913,000 people? Because it can't be both.

It is another example of the way that sloppy data lets people off the hook. The government can spend all its time pointing out what is wrong with the figures instead of dealing with the underlying issue.

  johndrew 09:57 16 Apr 2014

A question that no one appears to be able to answer is that given an individual needs to be on benefits to claim a "food parcel", how many of those claiming now are doing so because of the greater availability rather than prior to the availability being publicised. I have a suspicion the number of claimants is being inflated as a result of a proportion of those on benefits who managed perfectly well before now finding the "free handout" allows the use of some funds for other uses.

There are many pensioners getting lesser amounts who "make do" rather than than taking handouts of this type.

  spuds 10:08 16 Apr 2014

I mentioned this subject quite a few months ago, and the forum showed very little interest.

There is a very serious problem, and the government and indeed some circles of people seem to be in denial about this. In fact didn't we had one very high profile MP who was actually telling people how he could live on perhaps what would be classed as a below poverty borderline. Yet as far as I am aware, that person as made no attempt to prove what he stated!.

Even setting up food banks as its problems on the way they are administered, and how they are able to obtain supplies, and mainly who are the deserving cases in trying or obtaining food or even clothing aid.

Some people might even be hit with a double whammy, because in most cases the person seeking food aid as to be referred by social services or a benefit office. Its just not a case of turning up on the day the food bank is open, then expecting to be served, especially if you have not been referred, and no checks have been made and confirmed on how your actual circumstances are.

In a sense, even local school's are perhaps helping the needy out, by forming 'breakfast clubs', so that a child can start the day with something in their belly, before starting the daily school session. Even council's and churches are getting into the act, by opening the facilities in providing meals on certain days, at a subsidised rate. Not far from me, which I may add is an area mixed with very rich to very poor people, have a 'allotment club' where local people can keep active, and at the same time produce food so as to supply the above mentioned facilities, as a cause to help the community.

I suppose that we like the American are such a very rich nation, that we can spend massive amounts of money on supporting another country,and seemingly making a mess of it, yet at the same time, we are incapable of supporting our own, who are in dire need?.

Like Carver,I find that that the forum Editor is finding this story interesting at this moment in time, when its been around and growing for ages. And the 'common' or average person on the street are fully aware of the events taking place daily!.

A long sermon, but something that is very deep and sincere in my heart.

  spuds 10:15 16 Apr 2014


I have to agree that there are many pensioner's 'who make do', because in most cases that is how they were brought up.

Regarding what I mentioned in my above thread, with regards to council's and churches opening facilities. With all the goodwill in the world and the local advertising, it still takes people to do door knocking or listening to neighbours, because some of these deserving cases,especially the older folk, do not want to be a burden on society.

  Aitchbee 10:30 16 Apr 2014

Last week, I was surprised to see [for the first time] a big sign in the grounds of a nearby Church saying FOOD BANK ... usually it 'advertises' Summer Fete or Plants For Sale, etc.

And slightly off topic, it's no surprise that the Big Food outlets like Tesco and COOP have seen their profits fall while the likes of Aldi and Lidl are attracting more customers with much cheaper food prices ... and 30% profits to boot, due to the massive increase in their sales over the past few years.

  carver 11:02 16 Apr 2014

This is another by product enter link description here of the cuts.

On the radio this morning I heard that wages had increased by 1.7% and every thing sounded hunky dory and weren't we doing well, then a little foot note was added that actually this 1.7% included bonuses (wonder who got those) and the correct figure was 1.4%.

So even with those figures people are still worse off than they were 6 years ago apart from the top earners who are a lot better of.

"So, which is it? 913,000 parcels or 913,000 people? Because it can't be both"

Sorry but it may not be to your grammatically correct level but it reads as 913,000 parcels to 913,000 people I do not believe it reads as 913,000 different people.

  fourm member 11:54 16 Apr 2014


'This is another by product enter link description here of the cuts.'

Er, no. This is another example of dodgy maths being used to make a political point. Labour assumed that the two thirds of councils who didn't reply would have the same figures as those who did.

'I do not believe it reads as 913,000 different people.'

On that basis, you would say there are 4 billion working people because 20 million work for 200 days a year.

The difference between the number of parcels and the number of people who got them is important to anyone interested in these people getting help.

If, say, 20,000 people got 10 parcels or more then they represent a serious problem needing urgent attention.

If 913,000 people got one parcel each then it shows this is an emergency situation than does not demonstrate chronic poverty.

  carver 12:36 16 Apr 2014

fm it says that a third received more than one food parcel but the overall figure is still 913,000 people.

"On that basis, you would say there are 4 billion working people because 20 million work for 200 days a year"

How do you arrive at that, if I were you I would try some basic maths because that argument is nonsensical.

You should have said that 20 million people work for 200 days a year, therefore in total 4 billion days were worked in that year, it's still only 20 million people.

You can read into it whatever you like but normal people folk would look at it and say "a third of those 913.000 went back more than once."

You can't give out more food parcels than the amount of people who collect them.

Unless you know different?

  fourm member 13:21 16 Apr 2014


"'a third of those 913.000 went back more than once.'"

If that were true, then more than 913,000 food parcels would have been given out.

There is no point in saying 913,000 parcels were given to 913,000 people. That is obvious. The important question is how many different people were there. Was it 91,300 people each getting ten parcels? We know it wasn't 913,000 different people getting one parcel because it says there were people who visited more than once.

What the story doesn't do is explain the true nature of the problem.

Just saying there has been a big increase in the number of parcels is all about making political capital out of the poor.

Analysing the problem to identify whether these food banks perform a useful function for those who happen to make one slip into difficulty or whether they are being used as an alternative to providing real help for those with persistent problems is essential.

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