State of Hunger 2019: A study of poverty and food insecurity in the UK

Year of publication
Trussell Trust

The State of Hunger is a three-year research project designed to provide the Trussell Trust, and the wider sector of stakeholders, with the evidence base required to make recommendations on how to address hunger in the UK. A wide range of methodologies is therefore employed to provide a better understanding of how many people are affected by hunger, which groups of people are most affected, where, and what drives people to use food banks. The results presented in this report will serve as a benchmark for the subsequent two years of the project.

A review of literature and expert opinion (The Trussell Trust, 2019)
• A survey of over 1,100 people who have been referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network across 42 organisations in the network covering the profile, triggers and background to their use of food banks
• A survey of 306 referral agencies in 13 localities about the drivers and local contexts
• A survey of 28 food bank managers on the same issues, and the administration of the food bank user survey
• In-depth interviews with people who have been referred to food banks about their experience and background
• Statistical modelling of the drivers of food parcel take-up.

Findings: key drivers
Benefits – inadequacy, gaps and reductions
Challenging life experiences or ill health
Lack of informal support

Policy implications
A number of key areas to be addressed include:
• The general level of working age benefits and their erosion through the benefits freeze and cuts to entitlements
• Problems with Universal Credit, particularly the five week wait
• The benefit sanctions regime and assessments for health, disability, and work capability
• Rules on deductions from benefits, including the rate of repayments
• The availability of key worker support for adults with complex needs at high risk of destitution
• Stronger emergency local welfare provision, driven by minimum standards – particularly in England.

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