Foodbank figures soar in Tower Hamlets

By Rob Virtue on April 17, 2014 10:55 AM |

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Tower Hamlets has seen a steep rise in foodbank usage over the last 12 months with campaigners calling it the "tip of the iceberg".

Figures from the borough have revealed a 45% increase in those visiting centres, while the number of those receiving support has risen from 1,780 to 2,272.

It comes following revelations that over one million handouts had been given across the country in the last year. That has seen it triple on the year previous.

Denise Bentley, Tower Hamlets Foodbank manager: "The figures confirm what we have been seeing locally over the past 12 months is a steep increase in visits to our foodbank centres as a result of delays in benefit payments, affecting in the main, more single vulnerable people.

"We are patently aware that this is indeed the tip of the iceberg, as people who are struggling to put food on the table may very well be reluctant to ask for help.

"Which is why, as food and energy prices continue to rise and welfare reforms continue, we expect demand for what has been coined 'the fourth emergency service' will continue to grow."

The Tower Hamlets centre said over half of those visiting foodbanks were suffering from benefit change or delay - an increase of 20% in a year.

It also added 55% of people being fed were single, with the majority male.

And 22% of people were referred by Jobcentreplus.

The majority of food handouts come from charity The Trussel Trust. It said 95,639 people across London were given emergency food in the last year. - up from 42.064.