Foodbank use in Millom has grown from 16 people in 2012/13 to 341 people in 2013/14. This is an increase of 2031% over the course of a year. This is the data for the four council wards in Copeland Borough not covered by North Lakes Food Bank. Data is supplied by Barrow Food Bank.
The wards of Holborn Hill and Newtown, which cover the town of Millom itself, have both seen huge rises in the number of people visiting foodbanks.
In Holborn Hill, usage has risen from 11 people to 105 people, an 855% increase. This is now 4.2% of the ward’s total population. The number of adults using the foodbank has risen from 4 to 66, while the number of children has risen from 7 to 39.
In Newtown, usage has risen from 5 people to 222 people, a 4340% increase. This is now 6.3% of the ward’s total population. The number of adults using the foodbank has risen from 2 to 151, while the number of children has risen from 3 to 71.
The average child poverty rate, as of December 2013, across the four wards (Haverigg, Holborn Hill, Millom Without, Newtown), is 22%. In Holborn Hill it is 23%, and in Newtown it is 26%. The Copeland average is 21%.
Copeland MP and Shadow Health Minister Jamie Reed said:
“The increasing demand at food banks shows the deliberately spiteful nature of this Government’s social policy. Those who volunteer and donate to food banks do tremendous good for our communities and their work should be recognised.
“Under this Government, the reality is that many people work tirelessly to provide for their families, but struggle to make ends meet. People are only able to access food banks if they are identified as being in need by a care professional such as a doctor, social worker or even the police.
“Families can often be a broken washing machine or refrigerator away from severe financial hardship. A car repair can end up pushing people over a financial cliff. We know that the one of the biggest forces driving this demand at food banks are delays to in work benefits such as housing benefit and child benefit. The Cumbrian Welfare Reform Commission report called on the Government to review the delays in processing claims. The Government must now act to implement the recommendations made by the Commission to alleviate these pressures.
“Food banks are not a soft touch, people can’t game the system by pretending be in need. A country like ours in the 21st century shouldn’t even need food banks for its citizens. Figures like this will be replicated across the country, they should shame this government.”