The UK's biggest food bank charity's revealed it's had its busiest-ever six-month period.
The Trussell Trust says more than 820-thousand three-day emergency parcels were handed out between April and September.
That's up by nearly a quarter on the same period in 2018 - the sharpest rate of increase for five years.
During this period, 111,385 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in the North West.
The main reasons for people needing emergency food are low benefit income (36%), and delays (18%) or changes (16%) to benefits being paid.
They claim one of the key issues people at food banks face is the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment.
As the election nears, the charity is calling for politicians on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics. It is asking the next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by:
- Ending the five week wait for Universal Credit
- Ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living
- Investing in local emergency support for people in crisis
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:
“More people than ever before are being forced to food banks’ doors. Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty, but currently thousands of women, men and children are not receiving sufficient protection from destitution.
“This is not right. But we know this situation can be fixed – our benefits system could be the key to unlocking people from poverty. This General Election, all political parties must pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics. We want our next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit; ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living; and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.
“Together, these three changes will put money back into the pockets of people who most need our support. It’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks. This can change.”