Trussell Trust food bank report

Over one-third of households were currently waiting on a
benefit application or benefit payment they had recently
applied for. While some had only recently filed their
applications (i.e. 20% had made their application within
the past two weeks), for the majority, it had been 2-6
weeks since their initial application. Most were waiting on
decisions or payments for ESA or JSA. The fact that they
needed to use food banks during this time highlights the
economic vulnerability of households who are waiting for
benefit payments to arrive.


The financial vulnerability of households using food
banks was clear when we looked more closely at their
financial circumstances. Household incomes in the
past month were very low. After income equivalisation
(Department for Work & Pensions 2017), most households
reported incomes in the range of £100 to £500 per
month; the average income of the sample was £319.43.
About 16% of households reported having no income in
the past month.
For over one-third of households, their income in the
past month was less than it had been three months prior,
indicating a recent income shock. The most common
reasons reported for income losses were: loss of a benefit
(21%), benefit sanction (17%), benefit transition (16%),
change in benefit allowance (15%), or job loss (14%).

Those are actually subsequent paragraphs. And we might well be tempted to add two and two together there. To reach the conclusion that the State is shite at reacting to income changes and getting the benefits system to swing into action.

You know, maybe?

Anyone with any bright ideas about how to get a centralised bureaucracy to act more efficiently might like to send them, on a postcard, to No 10 Downing Street.

21 thoughts on “Trussell Trust food bank report”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    If I add that up correctly – which is unlikely – 69% of cases of “income shock” come from the State screwing up benefits. Just 14% from job losses.

    Not sure where they other 17% come from, but it looks like the best way to reduce income shocks is to abolish benefits and force everyone into the work force.

  2. @SMFS: the report agrees!

    ” The absence of people in full-time work
    suggests that full-time employment is protective against
    the need to use food banks, while underemployment
    or insecure employment may put households at risk of needing to use food banks.”

  3. Candidly, it’s because austerity means there are no longer enough benefit assessors, and those left aren’t paid enough. The way to get those claims processed faster is to hire more claims processors, and to offer a salary high enough to actually recruit competent staff.

  4. Andrew M
    Why are we wasting time re-distributing the wealth among the global top 5%? Could we not help those in real poverty.

    Q. How many people using the food banks are also overweight or obese?

  5. What annoys me, is the way the Left use the increase in food banks as an indication that the economy is failing. If that were the case, then we could see the opposite by closing them.

  6. A centralized benefit system will never work, the solution is to slowly try de-centralizing it. We would need PR in local government though to make sure it is governed correctly (otherwise the one party states would mess it up).

  7. Leftists don’t like food banks because they cause them cognitive dissonance. They want to pretend that the benefits system is something more than one person providing charity to another.

    Food banks remove the statist veil from the relationship. They make clear that the recipient is imposing a burden on the provider because they cannot provide for themselves or their family in the most fundamental area. This creates a natural moral obligation on the recipient to do all they can to end this reliance. Everyone knows this. But this conflicts with the leftist’s marxist politics of oppression, which tell them that the person providing the food must in some way be exploiting the recipient and the obligation must be in the other direction. Hence the cognitive dissonance. The solution is to hate the food bank and not allow any debate over it.The state must be brought in because…because… debate over. The veil of the state thus hides the cognitive dissonance.

  8. jamesg: The propaganda value of food bank whining to leftoid scum far outweighs any doctrinal issues.

    Some foodbank beneficiaries are those who have failed or dropped out of the jobseekers constant harassment to be hyperactive in applying for, telephoning up and generally chasing jobs even where the applicant doesn’t have the slightest chance of success and/or is entirely unsuited to / incapable of the work on offer.

    If the state doesn’t want to offer unemployment benefits then it shouldn’t. But to boast sanctimoniously about the wonders of welfare while running a campaign of harassment to force people off such a benefit and to make claiming it a misery is the worst of two-faced trickery.

  9. Long ago I worked as manager of the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Quite a common cause of delay in processing benefit claims was the claimant completing the form incorrectly and/or not providing all the necessary supporting documents.

  10. Perhaps not a popular idea below the line here, but this sort of thing makes me think that Universal Basic Income (and clawing it back from the high-earners by taxing them, not by some complicated means-testing) has an awful lot going for it. If there’s bureaucracy, it will always take time to work, there will always be people who struggle with the documentation, and there will always be people falling through cracks. As work becomes increasingly casualised in the gig economy, and more people become self-employed, variations in pay from week to week or month to month are going to be too choppy to expect a benefits system to keep up with.

  11. MyBurningEars,

    The big difference between UBI and the current system is the benefit sanctions (which account for 17% of foodbank referrals, as per above). Under the current system, if you fail to turn up for your bi-weekly jobcentre interview, you don’t get your money. If you’re fit & healthy, you can only claim if you’re actively seeking work*.

    We could abolish the current system of sanctions, as a step towards UBI. But it would be very expensive: a lot of people would start claiming (millions of housewives, students, early retirees) who can’t currently claim because they aren’t actively seeking work and/or have too much in savings.

    UBI doesn’t cope well with disabilities either, so you’d end up replicating the existing structure of fitness-to-work tests. Every time someone is judged to be fitter than claimed, they would still be at risk of loss of a benefit (21%), benefit transitions (16%), or change in benefit allowance (15%).

    (* or if you’re a single parent with a child under 5; but that’s a whole other quagmire)

  12. @ MBE
    Sympathise, but a flat-rate UBI wouldn’t provide enough for those with extra needs so there would need to be top-ups and a significant minority of married/partnered men using foodbanks have left/been thrown out by their partners so the question is who gets the UBI for the kids?
    The self-employed have always been exposed to the choppy variations in income but only 1.53% of Trussell adults were self-employed, out of 4.5m – over 10% of total employed, unemployed and economically inactive adults under 65. It isn’t the choppiness that is the problem – it’s being unprepared for choppiness.

  13. @AndrewM

    UBI doesn’t cope well with disabilities either, so you’d end up replicating the existing structure of fitness-to-work tests. Every time someone is judged to be fitter than claimed, they would still be at risk of loss of a benefit (21%), benefit transitions (16%), or change in benefit allowance (15%).

    That’s a very good point. Though I don’t think there are any advocates of UBI who propose it at sub-starvation levels, there are still going to be people who get accustomed to one level of income and may find themselves unable to meet obligations when there are unexpected changes.


    Cheers for looking that figure up.

  14. @decnine. I’ve recently applied for my retirement pension. I’ve not received it because I’m sure I have filled out the claim incorrectly and haven’t provided some of the supporting documents.

    The claim form is 17 pages long. I spent 3 days filling it in. Some of the supporting documents do not exist in my country (I live in Japan, the claim is in Australia).

    The fucking useless cunts could contact me (they have my address) and ask for corrections/extra stuff but the fucking useless idle cunts simply don’t pay. Instead of them contacting me, I’m expected to phone (they don’t respond to email/letter) and do their job for them.

    The reason your help was needed is because the claim forms are complex, and sometimes impossible to comply with. The idle cunts administrating these systems won’t help but are simply sleeping out their time on a salary until their pension starts.

  15. BiJ,

    > The reason your help was needed is because the claim forms are complex

    The levels of complexity defy belief. There are pages about how to handle claims when your lesbian unmarried partner goes to prison and leaves you looking after her children, but she has over-claimed in the past and now somebody needs to cough up the difference.

    As anon says, the only answer to such complexity is decentralisation.

  16. Dunno about the UK, but here in Canada food banks are a worse than a fraud, they are fucking horrible fraud.

    For some years I employed a married couple as construction workers, he was a craftsmen and made $33/hr, then 4 times minimum wage, she was a helper and earned $18. They also rented a house from me and to my knowledge lived well and had surplus money. They once spent several thousand dollars for surgery on their cat.

    Once a month they both went to the food bank, drove there in their own vehicle, went in separately, both filled in the form that stated they ‘needed’ the food, and left with vast bales of food, 2 huge shopping carts each.

    They literally needed their pick up truck to get it home.

    How do I know? I went with, just to see. The parking lot was full of decent vehicles, even high end ones.

    Quite a concept innit, a food bank needing a parking lot? I guess the poor got the cars from the car bank.

  17. Ok, how about: when you first sign on you get two weeks’ standard benefits immediately, over the counter, that is deducted from ongoing payments when the application is processed.

  18. @BiJ I’ve recently started my NI Pension in the UK. I have to say the government online system made the process very easy, but then I’m already registered for online tax and my circumstances are very straightforward.

    In contrast, my mate is a professor in Germany and he’s having the devil’s own time trying to get his pension calculated correctly. He’s had to hire specialist (ergo expensive) lawyers to argue his case, but because they’ve already admitted to some errors, the state is paying for them.

  19. @MBE: UBI is one of those ideas that are great if you’re starting from scratch, but hopeless when you already have a very complex system of means and needs tested benefits. Its just not possible to get from where we are to a UBI without large numbers of frankly rather stupid/indolent people ending up with less cash than they get now. This is not a problem if you live in Singapore and are governed by a sort of semi-benevolent dictator, the lazy/stupid will have to work just as they do the world over. But in a western democracy such a massive number of losers (in every sense) from the implementation of a new system will be politically unacceptable. So either your UBI gets canned before it gets off the ground, or it gets turned back into another version of a means/needs tested system, and you lose any advantages of the universal income.

  20. The foodbanks are trotted out as both an effect of government policies and a cure for all ills.
    They are neither.

    We’ve had benefit delays for decades, my dad has used foodbanks back in the 80s when his unemployment took ages to be paid.

    The franchise known as the Trussell trust has helped set up lots of food banks. You set up a food bank in an area because you believe there is demand. And lo, demand pops up. Vouchers get handed out like free food and people come along and get the free food.
    No checks of course on whether the story being told is true, just has to be believed.

    On average a user uses the foodbank twice a year. 3 days food at a time, 6 days a year of food. Less than 2% of the food consumed in a year.
    So what about the other 98% of the time?
    Its a sticking plaster, not a solution. Yet gains support and tries to be touted as the solution to major problems that can and do take weeks to resolve.

    Back when I worked for the civil service at one point I sent out probably a half dozen letters a week asking people which foreign government they worked for – the claim could not progress without the written response and was merely they ticked the wrong box on the 2 page form.
    Worse was when a well meaning social worker or welfare rights person told the client to tick they were terminally ill in order to get benefit quicker (terminally ill could get it in about 4 days, other people more like 4 months).
    Which also slowed up their claim.

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