Food banks are independent, charitable organisations, and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation.
According to the latest Government statistics – published in the Family Resources Survey – most households in the UK were food secure in the financial year 2021-22, with high household food security (88 per cent) or marginal households food security (6 per cent). A minority of households were food insecure, with low household food security (3 per cent) or very low household food security (3 per cent).
Of all UK households surveyed, three per cent had used a food bank in the last 12 months, and one per cent of all households in the last 30 days.
The Government has put in place a set of measures to help people with the cost of living. On energy bills, the Government is maintaining the Energy Price Guarantee. This guarantee limits the amount you can be charged per unit of gas or electricity. The current price guarantee, set at £3,000, will support households between now and April 2024. Although energy prices are currently below the level at which EPG payments would be made, it will remain in force until the end of March 2024 to protect households from price spikes, putting in place a safety net for households up and down the country.
Furthermore, at the Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a substantial support package for the most vulnerable for 2023/24, including £300 Cost-of-Living Payments for pensioners, £150 for people on disability benefits, and £900 for people on means-tested benefits. The Government is also providing £1 billion of extra funding by extending the Household Support Fund to March 2024, bringing the total of the Fund to £2.5 billion.
Both the State Pension and benefits were also increased by 10.1 per cent from April 2023, in line with inflation. This represents the biggest cash increase in the State Pension ever and an average uplift of around £600 for households receiving Universal Credit.