Almost half of emergency food parcels from Redbridge foodbanks go to children
PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 November 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Foodbanks in Redbridge hand out more than a dozen emergency food parcels every single day, with almost half of them to children, new figures show.
The UK's biggest food bank network the Trussell Trust recorded its busiest ever six-month period between April and September, with more than 823,000 parcels provided to people in need.
In Redbridge, the charity said it handed out 2,467 three-day emergency food parcels over the period, the equivalent of 14 every day.
Of these, 1,138 (46per cent) went to children.
Overall, the charity recorded an 11pc decrease in demand in the area compared to the same six-month period last year.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie warned that problems with Universal Credit were pushing people into poverty, with the five-week wait for initial payments under the system a key factor behind food-bank use.
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She said: "Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty, but currently thousands of women, men and children are not receiving sufficient protection from destitution.
"This is not right. But we know this situation can be fixed - our benefits system could be the key to unlocking people from poverty.
"It's in our power as a country to end the need for foodbanks. This can change."
The number of food parcels handed out across the UK in the six months to September rose by 23pc compared to the previous year, the sharpest increase recorded by the charity for five years.
Ms Revie said she wanted to see an end to the five-week wait for Universal Credit under the next government.
"We want our next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit, ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living, and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis," she said.
A spokeswoman from the Department for Work and Pensions said: "We spend over £95billion a year on welfare, and have simplified the benefits system through Universal Credit.
"Free school meals are provided for 1.3 million disadvantaged children, and over £26million has also been invested in a breakfast club programme."