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A LEICESTERSHIRE foodbank has said it anticipates an increase of up to 25% of people using its service, following the recent announcement about a dramatic rise in energy prices.

Loughborough Foodbank, which runs at the town’s New Life Community Church is currently helping around 96 people a week currently.

However, its manager Jules Ibbitt, told Pukaar News that she anticipates an increase of around 15-25 per cent, as more families really start to feel the pinch from the energy price increase, which was revealed by the government last week.

“I think the energy price rise is only going to push more people into poverty,” she said.

“Many of our clients have already had to make the difficult choice between eating or heating, so the energy price rise will further compound an already difficult situation.

“It’s very difficult to quantify until the full effects are felt of all these increases, but I’d expect an increase of around 15% – 25% as more families really start to feel the pinch from this crisis,” she added.

Picture: New Life Community Church

The increase, which will take place from April, will see the average energy bill increase by £693 a year.

The Bank of England has issued a warning that rising prices meant the UK was about to endure the biggest fall in living standards since comparable records began three decades ago.

It comes as inflation is on course to rise above seven per cent this year, leaving households facing the biggest income squeeze in decades.

“The energy price increase combined with increased National Insurance Contributions in April and inflation at its highest level for years, plus the loss of the £20 Universal Credit uplift from the pandemic, makes for a perfect storm for many families,” said Ms Ibbitt.

“Unless there is significant intervention from the government, the further increase in the fuel price cap will result in an even more severe cost of living crisis,” she warned.

Food banks like the one in Loughborough, provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food to people in crisis, alongside additional support.

They are run by the Trussell Trust, which has over 1,200 food bank centres in its network nationwide.

“More than 14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line,” said a spokesman for the cause.

“We understand that every person’s struggle with poverty is different and that it takes more than food to end hunger. So we bring together the experiences of food banks in our network, and their communities, to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.”

Foodbanks work with frontline professionals to identify people who need support and give them a food bank voucher.

Once someone has been referred, they can exchange their voucher at their nearest food bank for an emergency food parcel containing a minimum of three days’ nutritionally balanced food.

Food banks are designed to provide short-term, emergency support with food during a crisis. They aim to relieve that immediate pressure by providing food, but also offer additional support so that people don’t need to use the food bank again in the future.

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