A review into what drove people to foodbanks was due to be published last year (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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A Government review into what drives desperate families to foodbanks is yet to be published A YEAR after it was promised, we can reveal.
Campaigners tonight urge ministers to finally reveal the document outlining the reasons hard-up households turn to charity aid packages in 21st century Britain.
Answering a written parliamentary question last June, Department of Work and Pensions Minister Will Quince said: “The Department is conducting a literature review on the factors driving the use of foodbanks, which we aim to publish before the end of the summer; at which point it will be placed in the (House of Commons) Library.”
However, the document has failed to emerge in the 12 months since.
In February last year, 76 frustrated Labour, SNP, Lib Dem, DUP, Plaid Cymru and Independent MPs signed an Early Day Motion urging the Government “to provide a clear deadline as a matter of urgency for the publication of the review to inform a public debate on the reasons for growing demand for food aid provision in the UK”.
Welfare Minister Will Quince
(Image: Teesside Live/Katie Lunn)
But, 16 months later, the review is still being held back.
Former Labour Welfare Minister Lord Frank Field, a trustee of the Feeding Britain campaign, said there was “nothing stopping” the ministry publishing the review “and, in doing so, helping to advance the debate on what can be done to end the need for foodbanks”.
He added: “The DWP's failure to deliver on this commitment is an unforced error that needs quickly to be put right.”
Independent Food Aid Network coordinator Sabine Goodwin said: “The DWP's own Family Resources Survey shows that pre-pandemic levels of food insecurity had soared to 43% amongst households on Universal Credit.
Former Welfare Minister Lord Frank Field
(Image: Jason Roberts photography)
“The Government itself has already revealed a key driver behind foodbank use.
“Now is the time to lay all cards on the table and to use that evidence to change policy and end the need for foodbanks in the UK.”
Demand for emergency food rocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mirror told in April how Trussell Trust centres handed out a third more aid parcels in 2020/21 compared with a year earlier.
The charity's outlets gave away 2,537,198 packages over 12 months.
With each containing enough food for three meals a day for three days, it meant the Trust provided 22,834,782 meals.
Trussell Trust foodbanks have provided millions of meals during the coronavirus pandemic
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)
Labour MP Neil Coyle, who sits on the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, demanded the urgent publication of the document.
He said: “'Ministers in this Government are responsible for the massive leap in poverty and foodbank use.
“The growth in foodbank dependency has been consistent every year of the last Tory decade, yet the publication of this review has been delayed time and again.
“All the Tory talk of levelling up cannot be achieved unless they level with the public, admit their mistakes and fix problems like Universal Credit delays and the debt they have created.”
Labour MP Neil Coyle sits on the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee
SNP MP Chris Stephens, whose written question 12 months ago triggered the Tory pledge the review would be made public last summer, said: “For every day that passes without this review being published, people continue to be hungry and reliant on foodbanks.
“Had Tory ministers honoured the commitment they gave me a year ago, the drivers of foodbank usage would have been clear for all to see and action could have been taken to address them.
“Their failure to do so smacks of covering up, not levelling up.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “The Department rightly reallocated resources to prioritise our pandemic response and ensure we could process an unprecedented number of new benefits claims.
“This caused delays to some work, including the literature review which summarises already publicly available information.”