ONE in three people using a food bank is a child, Oxford University scientists have claimed.
The study looked at the use of the service in disadvantaged areas, including what age people were most likely to need emergency food supplies.
Research was carried out on the West Cheshire Foodbank, with the scientists saying that the growth of emergency food provision in there reflected the national picture overall.
Dr Elisabeth Garratt, research fellow at the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, said: "We find that emergency food referrals rose in 2016 and there is every indication that foodbanks are here to stay.
"One in three of those receiving emergency food from West Cheshire Foodbank in the last year was a child.
"These findings show there are huge levels of poverty, even in a country as wealthy as ours.
"The results suggest that policymakers need to look again at the way the benefits system operates, and ensure that people in work are paid a wage they can live on."
The team also found that debt accounted for 16 per cent of referrals, while benefit changes were linked to 14 per cent of cases.