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David Cameron urged to sign food bank pledge as users set to pass million mark

Published 17/04/2015

David Cameron has been challenged by Labour to pledge to reduce the number of people relying on emergency food donations. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.
David Cameron has been challenged by Labour to pledge to reduce the number of people relying on emergency food donations. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

David Cameron has been urged by Labour to sign a pledge to reduce food bank usage as figures are expected to confirm a million people have used them in the past year.

The Independent reported the Trussell Trust will confirm on Wednesday that the numbers handed food parcels over the past year has exceeded a million after several years of increases.

The report said that in 2005/06, 2,814 people were given three days emergency food, rising to 913,138 in 2013/14.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the 618% rise in the number receiving emergency food aid from the trust in the past three years was "shocking".

In her letter to the PM, she said: "I am writing to ask if you will join Labour in pledging to reduce the number of people in the UK relying on food banks in the next parliament.

"It's a testament to Britain's community spirit that so many volunteers are devoting their time and energy to helping others at food banks.

"But I'm sure that you'll agree with me that in the 21st century no one should have to rely on charity to feed their family.

"Food banks should never become a permanent feature of our society."

A Conservative spokesman said: "We know that many families are facing tough times as a result of the Great Recession of recent years.

"When people are struggling it is right that both Government and organisations in the community offer support. Unlike Labour, we have allowed jobcentres to signpost people to food banks.

"We are also helping to provide emergency financial help to those in desperate need and tackling the real causes of poverty by getting people into work and tackling welfare dependency.

"The best way to help people support themselves and their families is to stick to our long term economic plan which is creating more jobs, so more people have the added security of a monthly pay packet that enables them to support themselves and their families."

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