Citizens Advice reports “alarming” 78% rise in foodbanks enquiries
West Midlands is among the worst affected areas with 779 enquiries, an increase of 142 per cent since February
New figures from Citizens Advice show a 78% rise in enquiries about foodbanks in the past six months. The figures, made public for the first time today, show a rise in enquiries about foodbanks in Citizens Advice Bureaux in almost every region of the country.
The national charity’s Chief Executive calls the spike in requests for information about emergency food supplies “alarming” and has warned that “a perfect storm of pressures” is increasing demand.
One of the hardest hit areas is the West Midlands, with a 142% rise in the past six months. Citizens Advice Bureaux in the region dealt with 779 enquiries in the past three months alone.
A YouGov survey commissioned by Citizens Advice shows that over half of those on low incomes have had to resort to savings accounts in the past six months in order to meet living costs. 37% of respondents on low incomes report that they have no savings to turn to in an emergency, meaning many have no safety net when they run out of money.
The charity has warned that its bureaux are beginning to see people in employment seek emergency food supplies before they get paid, despite positive unemployment figures earlier this week.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:
“Foodbanks have no place in modern Britain. Millions of families are facing a perfect storm of pressures on their budgets. The combined impact of welfare upheaval, cuts to public spending, low wages and the high cost of living are putting unbearable pressure on many households, forcing them to seek emergency help putting food on the table.
“The alarming rise in foodbanks enquiries in the past six months shows that despite good news about falling unemployment, millions are still facing hard times.
“Ministers will be particularly concerned that I am getting reports from our bureaux of working families being forced to turn to foodbanks. In our Solihull office, staff say they are giving out food parcels on average once every two days. Many working people struggle to pay bills and pay for food in the few days before pay day and are forced to seek emergency help.
“At Citizens Advice we are particularly concerned that many people will struggle to budget with monthly benefit payments. Nine out of ten people told our bureaux they are not prepared for Universal Credit. Giving these people the support they need to budget effectively, and the option of receiving temporary fortnightly payments will be vital to avoiding a further increase in foodbanks.”
The new figures are based on enquiries made at Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales from February 2013 to the end of June 2013.
Notes to editors:
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.