Rising cost of living ‘forcing students to use food banks’

 

Growing numbers of students are turning to food banks as they struggle to afford to feed themselves, leaders of the National Union of Students (NUS) will warn on Monday.

The call for action on student poverty comes as one institution – in Hull, where the students’ union offers food parcels to those in need with the backing of the university – said the numbers taking advantage of its service have doubled in the past 12 months to 200.

Many other universities are now considering setting up their own schemes, Brittany Tomlinson, the NUS student welfare officer at Hull University, told The Independent.

“Last year it was nearly 100,” she said of demand for food parcels. “This year it has gone up to 200. The reasons are the rise in the cost of living and also some students are getting their student loans quite late. We’re lucky here with the support we’ve got for the food-parcel service from the university,” she said.

“There is no question that this is a growing trend. I know five or six unions [at different universities] across the country which are planning to do something.”

Colum McGuire, vice-president of the NUS, said: “Student unions have been in touch with us to raise the alarm that there is an increase in the number of students using food banks. We are really concerned about this.

“We all know that students incur an automatic debt by choosing education but what I don’t think people know enough about is the day-to-day cost of living.

“People are struggling... Our members report that they have to provide food parcels to students who literally cannot afford to eat.”

In addition to the Hull initiative, further education students at Walsall College in the west Midlands have begun issuing vouchers to allow three-days’ emergency access to the Black Country Food Bank. The college is also offering free breakfasts.

At Wolverhampton, the university is offering free loans to first-year students who are experiencing delays with funding.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said a higher number of disadvantaged students than ever were going to university, adding: “Over half a million are eligible for more non-repayable grants for living costs in 2012-13 than the previous year and almost  1 million students are eligible for more maintenance support in 2012-13 than students were in 2011-12... Young people don’t have to pay upfront to go to university.”

A spokeswoman for the Student Loans Company said there had been no delays to payments, but there was a surge of late applications by students “even after term started”.

In October and November, it received 70,000 applications “meaning many students were starting university without having their finances in place as they hadn’t submitted an application to us”.

* A university chaplain has told how he has referred five students to food banks within his city in the past fortnight.

Sunderland University chaplain, Reverend Chris Howson, said he had seen a record number of people having to resort to using food banks in the past year. 

He was speaking as four workers from Sunderland Minster went hungry for a day to highlight the plight of people living on the breadline.

“The Minster has had to deal with a record number of people going hungry,” he said. “The bigger picture is the massive need for food banks.

“We want to make the point that in the UK today no-one should have to rely on food parcels.  In universities across the country, students are having to take food out (from food banks).”

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne celebrates after salvaging a point with the Southampton equaliser
footballAston Villa vs Southampton report
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
News
peopleJack Monroe accuses David Cameron of 'misty-eyed rhetoric'
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Commercial Property Surveyor

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading firms of Cha...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Central London, Bank

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Structural Engineer

£22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A keen Graduate Structural Engineer with...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Data & Delivery Guru

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Data & Delivery Guru is required to...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible