An increase in the use of food banks in Barnet has been branded “scandalous”.

Figures published by charity The Trussell Trust have revealed that 3,809 three-day emergency food supplies were given out in Barnet between April 2018 and March 2019 – a 33 per cent increase on the previous year.

Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden said: “It is scandalous that we are continuing to see a growing dependence on food banks in our community.

“Whilst the Government is well-aware of the key factors that are driving so many local families into food poverty, they are choosing not to act.

“Instead, they are shamefully passing their duty of care to the most vulnerable in our society on to charities and beleaguered local services.”

The charity found the main reason for the increase in the number of food parcels being given out between April 2018 and March 2019 was delays or changes to benefits being paid or benefits not covering the cost of living.

The Trussell Trust said almost half of food bank referrals in the UK were because of the delay in benefits being paid, linked to the new Universal Credit system.

Universal Credit is replacing a number of benefits including Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) with the roll-out of this new system is expected to be completed by 2022.

Mr Dismore added: “Sadly, these figures are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, but they should provide a wake-up call for the Government.

“They must now step in urgently to address the issue of low pay and fully confront the consequences of their disastrous welfare reforms.”