Shropshire Star

Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance 'extremely concerned' with record demand at food banks

Food banks across Shropshire have been opening evening slots for users as they see record levels of demand for services.

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Liz Bird of the Bridgnorth Food Bank

Officials from Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance have today announced they are 'extremely concerned' by the scale of challenge people are facing with the current cost of living.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spring statement last Wednesday and announced tax cuts for nearly 30 million workers through a rise in National Insurance thresholds.

But despite this, food banks across the county are expecting their already 'record' figures to increase further, with perhaps the worst of the crisis still yet to come.

The Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance supports families and individuals who are being financially squeezed as a result of the cost of living and works with many of the food banks across the county.

Sophie Padgett, co-ordinator at SFPA, said: "At the Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance we are extremely concerned by the scale of challenge we are facing.

"Many households on low income simply do not have anything else that can be cut from their budgets.

"The rise in inflation to a 30 year high this year is expected to reduce real household disposable incomes on a per person basis by 2.2 per cent in 2022 to 23.

"This is the biggest fall in living standards in any single financial year since ONS records began in 1956 to 57. (Office for Budget Responsibility).

"The New Economics Foundation estimates 34.2 per cent of the population will be living below the Minimum Income Standard by April 2022. The average financial shortfall will be £8,600."

Some of the food banks in the county have reportedly been opening evening slots to provide for working families – a different demographic of people than in previous years.

February data from the Food Foundation, revealed that one million adults reported that they or someone in their household had to go an entire day without eating in the past month because they could not afford or access food.

It also revealed that people who are limited by a disability are five times more likely to be food insecure – in the past six months – than people who are not living with a disability.

"As Martin Lewis said last weekend, the scale of the challenge we are facing cannot be solved by money management, we need political intervention to help people keep their heads above water," Sophie said.

"We are in a position where people’s incomes simply cannot cover the essential costs of life and we join the many organisations calling for benefits to be uprated at least 8 per cent in line with inflation."

SFPA have now encouraged everyone with a household income of less than £30,000, to carry out a free 10-minute benefit check on Martin Lewis' website.

Many resources specific to Shropshire can also be found on the Shropshire Larder website, created by SFPA, with advice, recipes and emergency points available.