Sutton Foodbank use shoots up as Government welfare reforms take effect
The number of people who had to turn to Sutton's Foodbank has shot up as Government welfare reforms take effect.
Sutton's Foodbank hands emergency supplies to people who find themselves in urgent need and is supported by the charity the Trussell Trust and churches in the borough.
Latest figures show the number of people who used the foodbank between April 2013 and the end of March this year rose to 2039 from 1257 the previous year and 797 the year before.
Mark Tomlinson said the surge could have been caused by a number of factors and has happened at the same time as Government welfare reforms including to so-called bedroom tax have been implemented.
He said: "Every year we get more people but last year there was a huge rise, particularly during the first few months as welfare reforms came in - we saw a big spike and then it levelled out."
A delay in receiving benefits was cited as the reason for 31 per cent of referrals to Sutton Foodbank last year and benefit changes counted for 16 per cent. Low income accounted for 14 per cent of referrals and debt accounted for 11 per cent.
Mr Tomlinson said a certain amount of the growth will be down to greater awareness of the scheme and work by partner agencies to promote it.
He also said a recent report in the Daily Mail that suggested people who did not need to go to Foodbanks were able to manipulate the system was unhelpful.
He added: "Most people are discerning enough to know not to take what they read in the Daily Mail too seriously.
"By their nature, people who work in Foodbanks are compassionate and they want to help people so there will be people who want to manipulate the system.
"But 60 per cent of the people who come to Sutton Foodbank only come once - that suggests it is being used for crises."
For more information on Sutton Foodbank, visit www.suttonfoodbank.org.uk
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