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Thousands in Wales now hungry and reliant on food aid

29th May 2013

Wales faces a hidden scandal where thousands of people cannot feed themselves or their families, according to a hard-hitting report from Oxfam  and Church Action on Poverty. 

The two charities, with the backing of the Trussell Trust, are calling for an urgent Parliamentary Inquiry into the relationship between benefit delay, error or sanctions, welfare reform changes and the growth of the 'hidden hungry'.

The report, Walking the Breadline, says increased use of food banks is down to changes to the benefit system, unemployment,  underemployment, low and falling income and rising food and fuel prices.

Changes to the benefit system are the most common reasons for people using food banks. These include changes to crisis loan eligibility rules, delays in payments, Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions and sickness benefit reassessments.

Julian Rosser, Head of Oxfam Cymru said: "The shocking reality is that thousands of  people in Wales are now reliant on food aid. Cuts to social safety nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable that this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet."

The report comes in the wake of figures from the Trussell Trust's foodbanks in Wales which revealed  that over 35,000 people in Wales have received at least three days emergency food from them  the last year, more than twice the number helped in 2011-12.

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