Written evidence from the Trussell Trust (CPN0017)

 

The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity supporting a UK-wide network of more than 1,300 food bank centres. Together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

There is a clear link between NRPF status and levels of need for food banks in certain areas

-          An estimated 1.4 million people in the UK are currently subject to the NRPF condition, and do not have the right to apply for benefit support from the state.[1] Some of these people turn to food banks for support.

-          State of Hunger 2021 shows that, even before the pandemic, frontline workers were seeing the significant impact NRPF has on the need for food banks.[2]

-          Pre-pandemic, almost two in five referral agencies (38%) and a quarter (25%) of food bank managers said that the limited/restricted access to public funds experienced by migrants and refugees had a very high impact on the need for food banks.

-          31% of referral agencies and 10% of food bank managers said the limited or restricted access to local support services (welfare advice, debt advice, homelessness services etc.) had a very high impact on food bank need for this group.

Figures shows that the number of children living in households subject to NRPF needing to use a food bank was rising even before the pandemic hit

 

-          Data collected by the Trussell Trust detailing the main reason for referrals to food banks in its network highlights the growing level of need amongst households with NRPF. In the last 5 years (2016/17 – 2020/21), the number of emergency food parcels distributed to children living in a household referred primarily because of their NRPF status has more than doubled - from 14,434 to 30,629 (112% increase). This is likely to be a significant underestimate of overall levels of need among children living in a household with NRPF.[3]

-          Households referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network due to their NRPF status are more likely to contain children than the average household referred. In 2019/20 43% of emergency food parcels distributed to households referred to a food bank in the Trussell Trust network were distributed to children. This compares to 38% for all referrals.

 

Levels of need for food banks among households with NRPF have been rising in recent years

 

Year

Emergency food parcels distributed to children living in households referred primarily as a result of NRPF status

2016/17

14,434

2017/18

20,142

2018/19

23,456

2019/20

22,802

2020/21

30,629

 

 

The pandemic has accelerated these trends, driving up the numbers of children living in households with NRPF needing to use food banks

-          People with NRPF have been particularly vulnerable to destitution during the pandemic, because they often work in precarious forms of employment or self-employment, which have been particularly hit during the pandemic.[4]

-          People with NRPF are also over-represented in low-paid jobs and so have lower than average levels of savings.[5]

-          This is demonstrated in overall levels of need during the pandemic. The proportion of households referred to food banks with in the Trussell Trust network with NRPF increased from 2% pre-pandemic in early 2020 to 11% in mid-2020.

-          Between 2019/20 and 2020/21 there was a 34% rise in the number of parcels distributed to children living in households referred to a food bank as a result of their NRPF status, from 22,802 to 30,629.

-          The impact of the pandemic has driven up destitution and need for food banks among children subject to NRPF to record levels; but this did not come out of nowhere. The long term trend also showed significant increases in the years leading up to the pandemic.

-          This demonstrates that long-term solutions are needed to support children and households subject to NRPF condition beyond the pandemic.

 

 


The Government should prioritise making existing financial support available to families with NRPF

 

 

 

September 2021


[1] Citizens Advice, (2020) ‘Citizens Advice reveals nearly 1.4m have no access to welfare safety net, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/about-us1/media/press-releases/citizens-advice-reveals-nearly-14m-have-no-access-to-welfare-safety-net/

[2] The Trussell Trust, (2021), ‘State of Hunger, https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/05/State-of-Hunger-2021-Report-Final.pdf

[3] The Trussell Trust captures referral data from agencies who refer people to food banks in the Trussell Trust network, which identify a ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ reason for referral – This NRPF data across the UK is only analysed for those with a ‘primary’ reason for referral. Therefore, these figures are likely to be a significant underestimate in terms of overall scale of support given to children living in households with NRPF.

[4] Bramley, Glen, I-SPHERE, (2020), ‘Potential Destitution and food bank demand resulting from the Covid-19 crisis in UK’, https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/09/Heriot-Watt-technical-report-FINAL.pdf

[5] The Migration Observatory, (2021), ‘Migrants in the UK Labour Market: An Overview’, https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migrants-in-the-uk-labour-market-an-overview/

[6] Home Office, (2021), ‘Public Funds: Migrant access to public funds, including social housing, homelessness assistance and social  care https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970377/public-funds-guidance-v17.0-gov-uk.pdf