19 Nov 2014

Responding to the report Emergency Use Only: Understanding and reducing the use of food banks in the UK highlighting growing use of food banks, Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy and Policy at The Children’s Society, said:

'This report paints a sadly familiar picture of how families on low incomes who face crisis are having to go to extraordinary lengths just to put food on the table. It highlights the absence of an effective crucial welfare safety net for many families.

'Our Debt Trap report, published earlier this year, showed that six out of 10 families in problem debt cut back on food spending in order to meet repayments. The Government must do more to help families escape this devastating spiral of debt, including introducing a Breathing Space scheme to give room for families from interest charges and collection activities when they get into problems. This would help to make sure that families aren’t spending their last few pounds repaying debts.

'Next year, it is planned that funding will end for crucial local welfare assistance schemes which provide support for families in crisis. This decision would be likely to put still more pressure on food banks to deal with families with nowhere else to turn.

'For crisis hit families, the decision to seek emergency support is, as the report emphasises, a difficult one that causes great distress for parents and children alike. In too many cases families are being compelled to seek help in this way, simply because of problems with debts or benefit payments. It simply cannot be right that as a society we accept this.'

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Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.