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The debate about foodbanks exposes the dark secret at the heart of this government: they just don’t care.

Asked about the growth of foodbanks, David Cameron always gives the same reply: that demand for foodbanks went up tenfold under Labour. He is implying that things are no worse now than before the election.

The facts, however, tell a different story. One of the reasons the extraordinary Trussell Trust has proved so irksome to government is that it keeps meticulous statistics. And it refuses to suppress them.

In the year before the 2010 election, 40,000 people visited a foodbank. When Labour was elected, the Trussell Trust did not exist. Mr Cameron’s claim of a tenfold rise is meaningless. The prime minister could justifiably point out that foodbank demand was a worry under the last Government too. However, since the General Election, demand has rocketed. Since April 2013 alone, over 500,000 people have used a Trussell Trust foodbank.

The Trussell Trust records the reason each person uses a foodbank. In 2012-13, 30% did so because of benefit delays, a further 15% because of benefit changes and 4% because they had been refused crisis loans. So 49% of referrals related directly to benefit problems.

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source: The HuffPost
published: 9 March 2014

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