MORE than 87,000 emergency food parcels were handed out to children during the summer holidays last year, new figures show.
And now food bank charity, Trussell Trust, is warning that the figure could increase this year due the five-week wait for Universal Credit.
In total, 87,496 emergency food parcels given to struggling households with children between July and August 2018 rose by 20 per cent on the year before, up from 73,226.
The charity says the summer holidays can mean children missing out on school meals, and the extra cost of childcare can cause difficulties for hard-pressed families.
The amount of people relying on food banks has risen by 19 per cent in 2018 to 2019 according to the charity, and it expects it to continue going up.
Last year, a record 1.6million parcels were handed out by food banks over the previous 12 months.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work with new campaign
Universal Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment. One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship mew system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
That's why The Sun has launched our Make Universal Credit work. We demand the Government makes the following changes to help hard-working famililes before it's too late.
We want you to:
- Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
It blames the five-week wait for Universal Credit as one of the biggest contributing caused for families unable to put food on the table for their children.
The trust's chief executive Emma Revie said: "Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won't stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays.
"But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics."
She called on the Government to ensure that benefit payments cover the "true cost of living" and that work pays a "real living wage".
"Every family should have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living," she said.
"No child should face going hungry in the UK."
Like The Sun's Make Universal Credit Work campaign, the charity is calling on the government to slash the wait time for benefits for vulnerable Brits.
The research comes after a study by Save the Children warned that families on the benefit scheme could be driven into debt by £800 school holiday childcare costs.
Government officials said 95 per cent of Universal Credit claimants are paid in full and on time, with advances available for people who cannot wait for their first payment.
A government spokesman said: "Our priority is to support people to improve their lives through work while helping low income families with the cost of living.
"That's why we have raised the personal allowance to take 1.74 million of the lowest paid out of income tx altogether, frozen fuel duty for the ninth consecutive year, increased the National Living Wage and confirmed that the benefit freeze will end next year.
"Meanwhile, we've seen record high employment and wages continuing to outstrip inflation so people have more money in their pocket."
If you're on Universal Credit and struggling to make ends meet, or you're interested in donating or volunteering for one, here's how you can find your nearest food bank.
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