Benefits delays are main cause of foodbank use, experts find.

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

Food insecurity and malnutrition in the UK is a much wider problem than has been recognised, according to experts from the University of Manchester. They also found that the main reason for referring a person to a foodbank was a delay in benefit payments.

Dr Kingsley Purdam says the demand for foodbanks is underestimated with large numbers of people thought to be at risk of malnutrition in the UK. Many older people also face food insecurity. The rapid growth in the number of foodbanks and food donation points in supermarkets suggests a ‘normalisation’ of food aid.

The Government spends an estimated £13 billion on disease-related malnutrition each. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has identified better nutrition as one of the key cost-saving initiatives for the NHS.

Dr Purdam said: “In political and media debates foodbank users have been variously described as being: ‘opportunists’, ‘not able to…

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