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Food Bank Use Has Tripled During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

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A man loads a delivery van at a London food bank, which are experiencing huge demand under coronavirus lockdown
The 325 percent rise in use has hit London particularly hard
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

COVID-19 continues to put huge pressure on essential food supply

Food bank use has more than quadrupled in some parts of London during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures from wealth management firm Investec seen by the Mirror.

Compiled from food banks in 15 cities, demand has tripled across the U.K., nearly quadrupled across London, and more than quadrupled in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham. Data supplied by the Trussell Trust suggests that 67 percent of that increased demand is new dependency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, whether because of having the disease or being directed to shield for 12 weeks by the government. This has led coronavirus to overtake low pay as the primary trigger of food bank use in 2020.

Food supply mitigation strategies introduced by the government, including free school meal replacement vouchers, have so far creaked or failed entirely under the strain caused by the pandemic. Vouchers have not worked at supermarket tills, and the Trussell Trust has said that its services will not be able to support demand long-term without financial changes to benefit systems. Chief executive Emma Revie told the Guardian last week: “It would be false for me to say we can continue to indefinitely meet an unprecedented level of increased demand. The problem is financial hardship. The answer to financial hardship is not food.” [Mirror]

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