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Food Banks

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 7850, tabled on 26 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information she holds on the number of households in (a) in Bristol West constituency and (b) the UK who used a (i) food bank, (ii) food club and (iii) similar organisation for the first time during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

10 June 2021

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-resources-survey-financial-year-2019-to-2020). Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year. Children eligible for benefits-related Free School Meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty in all its forms. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.