Are people in work using food banks?

20 October 2017
What was claimed

People in work are using food banks.

Our verdict

Correct. Around 15% of households surveyed when using Trussell Trust foodbanks between October and December 2016 included at least one person with some work or income from employment, according to a recent academic study. We don’t know about the people using food banks not run by the Trussell Trust.

“We see this in numbers where I live of people visiting the food bank. Not just people out of work, but some people actually in work visiting food banks.”

Reverend Richard Coles, 19 October 2017

Around 15% of households surveyed while using Trussell Trust food banks in Great Britain in late 2016 had one or more adults with some work or income from employment. That’s according to research by King’s College London and Oxford University. The majority of these people were in part-time work.

Around 1.2 million emergency food parcels were handed out by the Trussell Trust—which runs the UK’s largest network of food banks—in 2016/17. This isn’t the number of people using food banks. The Trussell Trust thinks that people need an average of two emergency food parcels a year.

84% of those in the survey had “no employment indicated”. This meant that they were either economically inactive—not working because of illness or disability, studying or looking after someone else—or unemployed and looking for work. Around 70% of households surveyed said they received one of the main out-of-work benefits.

The survey covered over 400 people using Trussell Trust food banks across Great Britain. Those who participated were thought to be fairly representative of all kinds of people using Trussell Trust food banks, but as with any survey, the authors stressed there may be some differences not identified.

The Trussell Trust has told us before that it doesn’t usually collect information on what kind of jobs people using its services have.

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