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Food bank numbers up as government claims majority are better off

The number of people seeking help from food banks is up, despite the Government claiming the majority of workers in the UK have seen a rise in their wages over the past 12 months

The Trussell Trust says over 350,00 people have sought short term help from the charity since Apri, matching the entire amount of people who requested assistance over the previous 12 months.

The claim comes as the government insists that nine in every ten British workers took home more pay over the past year. The Prime Minister, David Cameron has said most wage packets went up by more than inflation, taking cuts to income tax and national insurance into account.

According to figures released by the Treasury nearly everyone except the richest 10% saw their take-home pay rise by at least 2.5%. This is above the Consumer Price Index inflation rate which stood at 2.4% in the year ending April 2013. But, Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, said the Government's figures did not take account of benefit reductions and so did not reflect what has happened to household incomes overall. Mr Johnson said it appeared that pay was now rising faster than inflation for most workers, but predicted that, after inflation is taken into account  incomes will remain "well below" their pre-recession levels by the time of the 2015 general election.

Adrian Curtis, from the Trussell Trust food bank network director, which has launched over 400 foodbanks across the UK in partnership with churches and communities told Premier's News Hour that many people are still struggling to cope:

The Government figures are being fiercely disputed by Labour, who have accused the Conservatives of being "highly selective" with their statistics and failing to "understand the cost-of-living-crisis".

Leader of the Opposition,  Ed Miliband claims he can't work the numbers out, he said:

"having had no answer to the cost of living crisis, today's the day that David Cameron is actually denying it's happening. This is a complete insult to millions of people who can see with their own eyes and feel in their own pay packets that they're getting worse off."

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its forecast for the UK economy, the latest in a series of positive economic indicators. It now expects the economy to grow 2.4% this year - faster than any other major European economy - against its previous forecast of 1.9%.

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