North East sees highest increase in demand for foodbanks

New figures from Newcastle CAB show a sharp rise in inquiries about foodbanks in the past six months, with an increase of 216%

Gateshead Foodbank
A foodbank in Gateshead

The North East has seen the country’s highest increase in demand for foodbanks, the Citizens Advice Bureau has warned.

New figures from Newcastle CAB show a sharp rise in inquiries about foodbanks in the past six months, with an increase of 216%.

Most parts of the country have seen an increase in numbers of people relying on foodbanks, but the North East is by far the highest, the organisation said. In comparison, the South East the increase has been 74% for the same six months.

Earlier this year, Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes spoke of the extent of problems facing poverty-hit families in Tyneside when he used a speech on the state of the city to reveal the growth of foodbanks in the city.

The national charity’s Chief Executive Gillian Guy called the spike in requests for information about emergency food supplies “alarming” and has warned that “a perfect storm of pressures” is increasing demand.

The charity has warned that its bureaux are beginning to see people in employment seek emergency food supplies before they get paid, despite positive news this week about rising levels of employment.

Last night Shona Alexander, chief executive of Newcastle CAB, said: “Foodbanks really should have no place in modern Britain. Millions of families are facing lots of pressures on their budgets.

“The combined impact of welfare upheaval, cuts to public spending, low wages and the high cost of living are putting a massive strain on many households, forcing them to seek emergency help to put food on the table.

“The alarming rise in foodbanks inquiries here at Newcastle CAB in the past six months shows that despite good news this week about falling unemployment, many people in the region are still facing hard times.

“Every day we give out vouchers for charity foodbanks to people coming to us for help. Often it is because they have had their welfare benefits stopped through sanctions, and they have simply no other way of feeding themselves or their families.”

The new figures are based on inquiries at Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales from February to the end of June.

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