16 Apr 2014

Our response to the Trussell Trust's report on food bank use and hunger

Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy and Policy at The Children’s Society, said:

'Hunger is a brutal reality for vast numbers of families and children across the UK. It is shameful that, according to these new figures, hundreds of thousands of children in this country are now forced to depend on food banks.

'We know from our work with schools that nearly three-quarters of teachers are seeing children coming to school with no lunch and no way to pay for one. 

'The government’s massive changes to welfare and rising food, fuel and housing costs are making it impossible for many working and non-working parents to afford the basics. An estimated 400,000 households a month are being forced to take pay-day loans to pay for food and other essentials. This is a scandal in any developed country.

'The government needs to reverse its decision to scrap funding for local welfare assistance schemes – the last line of defence for vulnerable families in need of crisis help.  By withdrawing this vital support many more children and families will find themselves trapped in a relentless cycle of poverty, hunger and debt.'

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email beth.herzfeld@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society’s report Food for Thought: A survey of teacher’s views on school meals.
  • A Which? survey last year found that 400,000 households a month were using payday loans to pay for such basic essentials as food and fuel. 
  • 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty today.
  • Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
  • By 2020, an estimated three quarters of a million more children will be living in poverty than today according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • See our local welfare assistance map for more information.
  • The Children’s Society is supporting the first-ever Children’s Commission on Poverty. The commissioners want the government to draw on children’s actual experience – and not just the statistics – when developing measures to tackle child poverty. The Children’s Commission on Poverty is being supported by The Children’s Society and led by a panel of 16 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 12 to 19. They are leading an 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK. It provides a crucial platform for children to speak out about what poverty is really like and reveal, through their own eyes, the day-to-day challenges they face and what needs to be done.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.