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Food bank demand increases by 48% after 2 years of universal credit, says Trussell Trust
Food banks in the Trussell Trust's network have had an increase in demand of 48% in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out for at least two years.
The Trussell Trust is urging the government to end the five week wait for Universal Credit and says the longer the new benefits system has been rolled out in an area, the more people are plunged into poverty.
The charity highlights that while the Department for Work and Pensions has attempted to find solutions to issues with Universal Credit, the wait for a first benefit payment, which is often longer than five weeks, is continuing to cause unnecessary hardship.
Gary Lemon, Director of policy, external affairs and research for the Trussel Trust, told Premier: "We found some really clear correlations between increased demand and when universal credit actually hits the area which the food banks are in.
"We found that on average, the year after food banks have been rolled out, they see a 30% increase in demand and after 18 months that jumps up to 40% and just keeps on going up and up. So, two years after Universal Credit is rolled out, the average increases 48%."
He explained what Christians can do: "The church has got an important role, lots of people across the UK listen when people from within the church speak, I think it's important that people are aware of the issues that are going on and understand that these are systemic things that are really important.
"The first step is for all of these groups of people within the church to say 'this isn't right, this shouldn't be happening' and it's from that first commitment to change that we can then start looking at practical measures that people need to start taking."
He suggested signing up for the 'five weeks too long' Trussell Trust campaign and speaking to your local MP and local council and finding out what protection they have for people who are on low incomes.
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