The figures are a “call to action” according to Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie.
“Individuals, driven by compassion and justice, are doing what they can to help people facing hunger, but they want to see things change,” she said. “It’s now time for our government to do its part, and ensure these strongly-held values are lived out in policies that anchor people from poverty.
“It’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks. To reach that future, we need to make sure everyone has enough money for the essentials. Ensuring our benefits system can anchor people from the rising tide of poverty would make the biggest difference.”
The Trust account for around a quarter of foodbanks in the food aid network but 70 per cent of people surveyed would like to see the foodbanks no longer exist while 51 per cent believe that they are an embarrassment to the country.
The majority also point the finger at the government – 55 per cent believe they are responsible for addressing the problem of hunger while 61 per cent insist that Westminster policies have driven them into poverty.
And despite the notable absence of any legislation to tackle hunger in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, 47 per cent of Brits say poverty is one of the most important issues facing the country right now.
For the national foodbank charity, the policy changes that could make an immediate difference are familiar – ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit and ending the benefit freeze to ensure that welfare support reflects the true cost of living.
A DWP spokesperson responded with the claim that tackling poverty is a “priority” for the government.
“Tackling poverty is a priority for this government – 400,000 people have been lifted out of absolute poverty since 2010, there are more people in work than ever before and wages continue to outpace inflation,” they said.
“But we know some families need more support, which is why we’re spending £95 billion a year on the welfare safety net to prevent families from falling through the cracks.”
The Big Issue spent the summer investigating holiday hunger, discovering how a lack of access to free school meals intensifies hunger while children are on school holidays.
We are currently running a petition to tackle one of the leading causes of holiday hunger – how paying for childcare costs upfront before being reimbursed later pushes parents on Universal Credit into poverty.