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.