The growing use of food banks in Britain shows that some people are "falling through the cracks in the system", the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has admitted.
His comments followed a warning to the Government that half a million Britons have resorted to volunteer-run food banks to stave off hunger amid cuts to welfare payments and rising food prices.
The charities Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty claimed this week people using them had trebled in the past year and that figures were likely to rise further.
Mr Cable said the situation facing thousands of Britons was "very serious" and "a very real issue". He told ITV's Daybreak: "I don't want to minimise the issue of food banks in the UK. There are people slipping through the cracks in the system. They are mostly food emergencies because they've lost benefit entitlements temporarily. In some cases people have mental illness."
Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Council and Southern Co-operative store each donated £1,000 after food banks began to run out.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies