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Danny Lawson/PA Wire
UK News

Christian food banks gave out half a million emergency supplies in past six months

The charity has told Premier it shows that hunger is still a "major concern" for low income families.

A total of 506,369 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people, a 3% increase on the same period last year.

Around 300,000 people visited the food banks during the six months, with many saying they had skipped meals.

The Trust, which runs 425 food banks across the country, many in churches, said delays and changes to benefits were the main reason people visited them.

The numbers seeking emergency food supplies remained "worryingly high", said the Trust.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour food bank director Adrian Curtis said: "For many families in the UK this is still a really big issue".

He added: "We look forward to the day that we can announce a decrease in numbers needing food banks, and we welcome the fact that latest national figures show a less dramatic rise.

"Whilst we hope that this is a sign that economic recovery is giving more people access to secure work, several food banks are reporting that some agencies and charities who would normally refer people in crisis to food banks have been unable to do so because funding reductions have caused their services to be squeezed or closed.

"We're seeing that hunger remains a major issue for low income families and individuals. When the proposed changes to tax credits are implemented, we are concerned that more working families will not be able to make ends meet, and that we could see a substantial rise in food bank use as a result.

"As a nation we need to learn more about the realities of life for people struggling on low incomes and make sure that no incomes are too low to live on."

A Government spokesman said: "Britain has a proud tradition of volunteering and of civil society and faith groups providing support to vulnerable people - and this Government welcomes that.

"We know that the reasons for food bank use are complex and often overlapping, so it is misleading to claim that it is driven by benefit delays.

"The vast majority of benefits are paid on time, and improvements are being made year on year."

Adrian Curtis speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield:

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