Latest foodbank figures 'should shock and anger’ say Churches
16 April 2014
- 900,000 needing to use foodbanks "should shock and anger
- Figures "should lead Government to examine why the post-Welfare
Reform benefits system allows so many people to go hungry."
Leaders of the Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain
and United Reformed Church have responded with concern to the
latest figures from the Trussell Trust, released
"These figures should shock and anger us," said Methodist President
the Revd Ruth Gee. "Hunger should not and need not be a problem in
a rich country like the UK - and yet clearly it is. We thank God
for foodbanks, which provide a vital lifeline to people who would
otherwise be forced to go hungry.
"Wherever I have travelled in my year as president I have asked the
same two questions: do you have a foodbank here and have you seen
increased need for it?
"Wherever I have travelled the answers to both questions have been
'yes' and I am not hearing about small increases in need; I am
hearing about huge leaps in demand and foodbanks that are
struggling to keep up."
The Trussell Trust highlights static incomes, rising living costs,
low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially
sanctioning, as significant drivers of the increased demand.
Yesterday, the Department for Work and Pensions
published research that shows that a third of families affected
by the Benefit Cap have already had to cut spending on essential
items such as food, while more than one in ten of these families
have needed to borrow money to make ends meet - often from payday
"Over 900,000 people needing the help of a foodbank should lead the
Government to examine why the post-Welfare Reform benefits system
allows so many people to go hungry," added the Revd Stephen
Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader for the Baptist Union of
Great Britain. "Churches and others are doing sterling work
reaching out to help folk in need but this isn't how it should
"It is a great a testimony that so many people have given up time
and money to meet this need - it is a great tragedy that so many
more families find themselves in such need.
"It is not credible to deny there are more people who are hungry -
these figures should spur us on to address the important question
of why there are more people hungry".
The Revd Gee has written a blog on her experiences
travelling the country and talking to churches that run
Last year the Churches, together with the Church of Scotland,
published a report highlighting the myths about poverty in the
UK today. One of the most destructive myths - fuelled by "shirker
and striver" rhetoric - is that people who live in poverty are lazy
and work shy.