The Trussell Trust said that there was a “shocking” 51% rise in clients to established food banks. It said benefit payment delays were the main cause.
They also said benefits payments had been a particular problem since welfare changes were introduced just over a year ago. Some 83% of food banks reported that benefits sanctions – when payments are temporarily stopped – had resulted in more people being referred for emergency food. And more than 30% of visits were put down to a delay in welfare payments.
An additional problem since April 2013 has been the abolition of DWP-funded crisis loans, designed to cover short-term emergencies.
Responsibility for these loans has been devolved to local authorities, which can make them harder to access.
The government said there was no evidence of a link between welfare reforms and the use of food banks.