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Food bank use doubles in Cotswolds
8:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
THE number of people relying on the the North Cotswold Food Bank has doubled in the last year – but it is not down to a squeeze on benefits.
Last week, the Trussell Trust announced more than 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from its food banks between April and September, triple the number of the same period last year.
The charity said the increase was down to many people on low incomes hit by the welfare reforms which launched in April – including the so-called bedroom tax – and is calling for an inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the surge in food bank usage.
However, James Milton, manager of the North Cotswold Food Bank, said that while they had seen the number of users double, welfare reforms were not to blame.
“In our case it’s not benefit-driven,” he said.
“We’re running at about double of the rate a year ago. Prices are going up and incomes are not kept in step with that.
“In some cases, income is going down. There are strong rises in living costs and income is flatlining. For us it’s not the benefit issue, it’s simply that times are hard.”
The food bank, based in Guiting Power, was set up nearly two years ago and also has outlets in Winchcombe, Bourton, Chipping Campden and Moreton.
People in need of emergency assistance receive a minimum of three days’ non-perishable nutritionally balanced food from four churches in the district. Mr Milton said that despite the number of people using the food bank being triple the original forecast two years ago, they were still able to keep up with demand.
“Supermarket collections are a great way for the public to support the food bank,” he said.
“And at the moment harvest festival collections will get us through the winter. These extra inputs from the public are proving invaluable.”
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