Food bank use rises 52% after Universal Credit roll out

Analysis done by the Trussel trust has revealed foodbank usage in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out fully has increased 52%. This contrasts to the average increase in foodbank usage of 13%.

The extension of Universal Credit risks leading to further rises in food bank usage which has already risen dramatically under austerity.

New analysis by the Trussell Trust, which coordinates a national network of food banks, highlights how the current more limited rollout to around 1m new benefit claimants has already sent foodbank use soaring.

Only 8% said their full Universal Credit award covered their cost of living. This was even less for disabled people or people with ill-health, of whom 5% said the award covered their cost of living.

The findings come as the Department for Work and Pensions finalises its plans for the next stage of Universal Credit to take to Parliament later this month.

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, explains:

“We created our benefits system in this country to free people from poverty, not lock them into it. As we look at the current plans for the next stage of Universal Credit, we’re really worried that our network of foodbanks could see a big increase in people needing help. Leaving three million people to wait at least five weeks for a first payment – especially when we have already decided they need support through our old benefits or tax credits system – is just not good enough. 

The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell has broke from Labour policy and stated:

“I think most people now are coming to the conclusion Universal Credit has got to be scrapped.”

This is in contrast to Labour’s policy.

Universal Credit will be the largest overhaul of the benefits system in a generation and its rollout has been widely considered to be a disaster. Labour support stopping the rollout so Universal Credit can be fixed, including a number of problems involving waiting times when switching to the benefit. Labour have also stated they are looking at proposing UBI in their next manifesto.


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