Did 500,000 children need emergency food supplies last year?

17 November 2017
What was claimed

Last year, half a million children went for three days’ emergency food supplies.

Our verdict

These figures refer to the number of three day emergency food supplies given out to children by the Trussell Trust, not the number of children receiving those supplies. 437,000 three day emergency food supplies were given to children between April 2016 and March 2017.


“Half a million children last year went for three days' emergency food supplies.”

Emily Thornberry MP, 16 November 2017

437,000 three day emergency food supplies went to children in the year to March 2017, according to figures from the Trussell Trust—the UK’s largest network of food banks.

This measures the number of food parcels given out rather than the number of children receiving them. The Trussell Trust says on average, people who were referred to them used a food bank twice last year—which they told us included children’s use too. So this suggests that around 220,000 children may have used Trussell Trust food banks over this period.

The Trussell Trust’s latest figures cover the six months from April to September 2017. During this time 209,000 three day supplies were given to children.

None of these figures count use of food banks not run by the Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust’s food banks are thought to roughly account for around two-thirds of the food banks in the UK.

We’ve looked into the reasons behind rising food bank use here.

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