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Food bank use soars 400% in two years

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Food bank use soars 400% in two years

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities

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Food bank use amongst Londoners has soared by 393% over the last two years, a shocking new report has revealed.

The Trussell Trust's analysis shows that there were 12,839 visits to London's food banks in 2011-12 - which had increased to 63,397 visits in the first nine months of the current financial year, which included 24,500 children.

The study also found that 65% of Londoners are concerned about rising food costs, and 66% support the introduction of free healthy school meals for all primary school children.

The report makes the following recommendations to help alleviate food poverty in the capital:

  • Introduce universal free school meals for all primary school-age children in the capital. Initial estimates suggest this would require an investment of £58.7 million by the mayor.
  • Pilot universal free school meals at a number of secondary schools across London for two years. 
  • Every school governing body should have a plan to identify and address hunger in schools and to support families in food poverty.

The report's author, Fiona Twycross AM, London Assembly Labour Group economy spokesperson, said: “We are seeing a growing food poverty crisis in the capital as incomes continue to be squeezed. It is time the Mayor took concerted action to address this problem, it is a scandal that people cannot afford to feed themselves or their families in modern London. The use of food banks continues to increase at an alarming rate thanks to the continued squeeze on living standards.

“Today’s report shows the scale of the problem, but it also shows that Londoners are supportive of tools that will tackle this problem. I have presented the Mayor with a fully costed plan to help parents by extending the government’s free school meals for infant school children to all primary school children. The Mayor has the power and resources to extend provision and build on the new consensus that is developing. My report found that two-thirds of Londoners support extending provision.”

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