Some high-profile politicians and pundits have alleged this, but a report commissioned by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) disagrees. You can download the report here.

The report's authors went so far as to state:

We found no evidence to support the idea that increased food aid provision is driving demand.

All available evidence, both in the UK and internationally, points in the opposite direction. Put simply, there is more need, and informal food aid providers are trying to help.

But you don't need a Government report to work this one out. At every stage of a Luton Foodbank client's journey, he or she is offered professional support and encouraged to take the right steps to remedy their situation. Significantly, most foodbanks—including Luton Foodbank—operate a policy limiting the number of uses someone can make of their service. Any so-called "dependency" would have a maximum duration of about two weeks. Since 87% of our users are back on their feet after only one or two visits, the pundits clearly didn't do their homework.