Food-bank use in Britain is at record levels. More than one million food parcels, each providing enough food for three days, were given out between 2014 and 2015, more than 400,000 of which went to children. In more than 40 per cent of cases, the main reason for people needing food parcels is related to delays or changes to their benefits, says the charity.
Food poverty in Britain is set to worsen in the coming years, he fears. “We have to face the reality that what we are seeing now is just the beginning,” Chris Mould, chair of the Trussell Trust, who ran the Central Police Training and Development Authority and NHS trusts in Wiltshire and Bedfordshire before becoming involved with the charity more than a decade ago, “…we have a Government department that tolerates without shame situations where people have no access to financial support for months on end at times.” He also explained “We are dealing with people who have been going hungry but, more importantly, have come to a point where they see no point in continuing to live. What makes me angry is that I’ve met too many people who have been driven to that place by inadequate implementation of existing public service and policy. There are many people who have told me that the food bank saved their lives and several instances of people where that’s absolutely true; they had reached the end of their tether and they were planning to commit suicide.”
Mr Mould said: “I would imagine they see it as collateral damage as they implement new policy and they don’t intend to divert or adjust their policy, so it’s better not to hear. That’s how it feels.” Last year a senior aide to Iain Duncan-Smith had warned Mr Mould that the “Government might try to shut you down”, because of the charity’s campaigning on food poverty. Asked if such threats persisted, Mr Mould said: “What’s happened is that the messages are passed through in a more subtle way, that’s all I can really say.”