Nearly a million people have been forced to survive on donations from food banks, according to a new report.

A worrying 913,138 people sought emergency food supplies in the last year, due to poverty.

The report highlights the plight of the working poor – those people who are in full-time employment, but are unable to afford the essentials such as food, because of increasing bills and taxes.

This is a stark contrast to the numbers of people relying on food banks in the year before, as figures show that between 2013-14, just 346,992 sought emergency supplies from food banks.

And that figure only takes one food bank into consideration – meaning that the numbers are likely to be far higher.

The Trussell Trust said that rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and welfare cuts have led to an epidemic where people cannot afford to pay for food.

Its statistics showed that 83 per cent of Trussell Trust food banks reported that benefits sanctions have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food.

Half of referrals to food banks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

Chris Mould, chairman of the charity said that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

He added: “It doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no food bank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.

“In the last year we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.”

He added that the numbers are shocking in 21st century Britain, and are unlikely to get any better unless the government takes step to curb energy costs, reform the welfare system so that it helps the most impoverished people and introduces the living wage.

Sadly, such measures are unlikely under the current regime, and what’s more, those who are on the lowest incomes are often demonised by the mainstream media.

In fact, not only are those who are unemployed and forced to live on £64 JSA a week denounced as ‘scroungers’ by the media, but even people who have no choice but to live on donations from food banks are now being targeted.

A recent story which appeared in the Mail on Sunday launched an attack on the Trussell Trust foodbanks by sending an undercover journalist to receive donations.

The story which used loaded and emotive language claimed that the journalist was able to “stagger” away with bags of food, no questions asked. The implication of course being that people are taking advantage of the free donations.

MailOnSunday preferred pic

But the newspaper prompted a backlash after claiming that no questions were asked, but later in the article, it stated that their undercover reporter was asked a series of questions about his unemployment status, including his name, address, date of birth, phone number and reasons for visiting.

And despite the ‘newspapers’ attempts to refuse to let the pesky facts get in the way of a rant, the attack on poor people failed miserably, as the Trussell Trust charity announced that donations had soared by 100 per cent after the Mail’s attempts to kick the the poor and its veiled suggestion to put desperate people through even more humiliating tests and checks backfired spectacularly.

Responding to the article,  the charity said: “The Trussell Trust feels that these undercover methods, used by Daily Mail journalists, to enter the premises of our voluntarily run food banks is an unacceptable attempt to tarnish not only the name of the Trussell Trust, but also the valuable efforts of the 30,000 volunteers who selflessly give up their time to provide a valuable service to people in real need.”

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