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The growing divide between health and wealth



The Covid-19 pandemic and the campaigning of celebrities such as Marcus Rashford, MBE drew wider attention to the scale of issues surrounding food poverty. There has, in recent years been an increasing need for services such as food banks. Over the last decade there has been an exponential growth in food bank usage. The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact but the trend was escalating rapidly pre-pandemic.


UK Food bank usage (number of people)

2012/13 346,992

2013/14 913,138

2014/15 1,084, 604

2015/16 1,112,395

2016/17 1,201,302

2017/18 1,354,388

2018/19 1,604,244

2019/20 1,906,625

2020/21 2,537,198


The need for food banks has increased by 123% in the last five years.


Statistics from The Trussel Trust


Health and Wealth

  1. The need for UK food banks has increased by 123% in the last five years.

  2. Over the last decade there has been an exponential growth in food bank usage. The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact but the trend was escalating rapidly pre-pandemic.

  3. 2020/21 in the UK 2,537,198 people have a need for food banks

  4. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic UNICEF, (United Nations Childrens Fund) who are responsible for humanitarian aid around the world had to step in to support UK children. This is the first time in UNICEF’s history that they have supported the UK.

  5. There was an exponential increase in the number of children becoming eligible for free school meals during the pandemic with an additional 128,000 children. However, children were not in school due to lockdowns and there was, of course a lot of negative media attention on the response to feeding those eligible children during this time of need.

  6. Within the UK today we have very real poverty and this brings with it health inequalities. Income is associated with health, whereas those in the bottom 40% of income distribution are twice as likely to report poor health than their counterparts in the top 20% of income distribution

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