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Video: ‘Perfect storm’ of benefit changes and stagnant wages blamed for 500% rise in food parcels handed out to families in Ipswich

09:46 09 June 2014

Feature on Ipswich food bank. Pictured  is volunteer Sarah Jarrold.

Feature on Ipswich food bank. Pictured is volunteer Sarah Jarrold.

More than 3,000 food parcels were given out in Ipswich last year – a 500% rise compared to three years ago, it has emerged.

And across Suffolk as a whole, the number of adults and children receiving emergency supplies from food banks has more than doubled in the last 12 months.

The food bank in Ipswich is operated by Families in Need (FIND), and founder Maureen Reynel said the demand for parcels had increased every year since it began.

From 489 parcels in 2011, there were 1,980 in 2012 and 3,130 in 2013, not including Christmas hampers.

The Ipswich statistics have been revealed on the same day the Trussell Trust – which operates other food banks in Suffolk and across the country – released a report into their use.

It claimed rising numbers were turning to them despite the economic recovery because of a “perfect storm” of changes to the social security system, benefit sanctions, low and stagnant wages and “insecure” zero-hours contracts.

Chris Mould, chairman of The Trussell Trust, said the state of food poverty in the UK was a “national disgrace”.

He said: “Trussell Trust food banks are seeing parents skipping meals to feed their children and significant repercussions of food poverty on physical and mental health.

“Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.”

There are three Trussell Trust food banks in the county – East Suffolk Foodbank in Lowestoft, Haverhill Foodbank and Lakenheath Foodbank.

A total of 4,979 people received emergency meals from these in 2013/14, a surge from 2,061 in 2012/13.

Some 1,380 children requested food supplies last year, a 12-month rise from 665.

The findings were laid bare in a report by The Trussell Trust, Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty, which warned the numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg” and called for a new package of measures to prevent vulnerable families from failing into “destitution and hunger”.

Niall Cooper, director of Church Action on Poverty, added: “Protecting its people from going hungry is one of the most fundamental duties of Government. Most of us assume that when we fall on hard times, the social security safety net will kick in, and prevent us falling into destitution and hunger.

“We want all political parties to commit to re-instating the safety net principle as a core purpose of the social security system, and draw up proposals to ensure that no one in the UK should go hungry.”


  • As the bloke on benefits street said "If I don't work I don't eat.

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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

  • I work with people who often ask for food parcels. There IS a genuine need in SOME cases- people on sick benefit whose claims are taking a long time to be paid, people who lose their job but have to wait for JSA, people who have got a job but wont be paid for a month after they start. BUT the VERY GREAT majority is just about poor budgeting- prioritising ciggies and paying back a mate, mobile phone bills etc etc over their essential expenditure.

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    Sentinel Red

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

  • "I sincerely hope that all these Tory idiots writing comments, do not lose their jobs, maybe then they will be glad of food banks" I am not a Tory idiot ( and I have lost several jobs. Guess what I did on every occasion? I made myself employable, retrained where necessary, brushed down my interview suit and when that didn't work I started one of several businesses. I didn't expect any State handouts. As for people with disabilities or so called "learning difficulties". well there have always been people who were a little bit "slow" or "simple" as my parent's generation used to call them and that is not necessarily dismissive but there are jobs for all levels of abilities. As for people who are for example wheelchair bound and clearly disabled that's a very insulting thing to think they cannot be part of the work force. The brilliant Stephen Hawking springs to mind. Those who want a free meal ticket at everyone else's expensive will always find a way of claiming they can't work.

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    Steve Blake

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • I sincerely hope that all these Tory idiots writing comments, do not lose their jobs, maybe then they will be glad of food banks

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • I wonder how many of those claiming were not born or raised in OUR country..

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • People who blame tories are delusional fools. Socialism does not work! Labour financially ruined the country. Its either cuts or tax increases! Id rather not support those who claim benefits when they're capable of work! Maggy thatcher said with socialism you will eventually run out of other peoples money.. she was right, hence the mess this countries in. Those who vote labour should study economics and give examples of when socialism has actually worked...

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    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • There are genuine sick and ill people who have had their Disability Living Allowance stopped for 7-8-9 months. Despite previously being awarded DLA on the evidence that was produced in the first place. .......Its a disgrace what is going on and the local MP,s do not care or want to help. The Tories are picking on the weak and vunerable. There are people with learning difficulties even being penalised and sanctioned. Some of the stories I have heard are shocking.

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    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • So lets vote in the party of waste scroungers and wasters and bring the country to bankruptcy. If the benefit brigade cannot afford their tattoos fags and latest mobile phones paid by the state so be it

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    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Self-help was a lot easier before 0 hour and short-term contracts became common place and yes, in theory all the cripples, people on dialysis and mentally ill folk can get a job now they have been kicked off disability benefits but honestly who would employ them?

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    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Whatever happened to self-help and taking care of oneself and one's family; preferably by means of a job? Of course it was those in Labour who have spent the past 70 years or so telling the masses that they could always rely on the State (Big Brother) to care from cradle to grave and of course so called "rights" and "entitlement" to benefits. That care, those "rights" and "entitlement" comes at a cost; a word which is not something the socialists really understand as it is always other peoples' money they spend. What - no local job vacancies? Why is that? Perhaps it is something to do with the thousands of EU migrants in Suffolk who are here legally and the thousands of others who are here under dubious circumstances. This probably will not get published as the Star likes to not make the connections between uncontrolled migration and the consequences for the local job market,

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    Steve Blake

    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Just a note for IE - yes many of the organisations running foodbanks are Christian (indeed, my church supports FIND) - but the food is given to all needy persons, of all faiths and none, with no strings attached whatsoever.

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    Baptist Trainfan

    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • What can people really expect? The people of Ipswich is just as much to blame - we do have a Tory MP, that the people voted in (I didn't vote Tory!) - and he seems to distance himself away from the whole poverty, welfare and associated issues... which are major issues nationwide and for the town of Ipswich. I really do not know what is worse... people needing to beg for food or get associated with these largely Christian organisations (regardless of their actual faith or lack of) just to get food?

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • Don't worry, I'm sure it's all part of the "long-term economic plan". If we all had a tenner for every time a front-bench Tory minister says "long-term economic plan" in the next twelve months we'd all be able to follow Cameron's example and have five holidays a year. Did I mention the "long-term economic plan"?

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    Origami Penguin

    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • As a word of explanation, or maybe of warning, of this situation...referring back to the days of black and white movies, get a chance to see the Peter Sellers movie "Heavens Above".

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    Alan Scurrell

    Monday, June 9, 2014

  • What a terrible 'legacy' this sham of a tory toff government are going to leave !, I had never even heard of a 'food ban' until recently !, they have taken us back to the Victorian workhouse, 'workfare' days !!

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    Monday, June 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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