In October I posted about the distribution of food banks across London and asked whether they served the most needy people.
This article puts a bit more flesh on the bones of that idea by comparing the number of foodbanks (including those under construction), the population and the poverty levels (as defined in the Index of Multiple Deprivation) in each London borough.
Four London boroughs have no foodbanks; City of London, Waltham Forest, Ealing and Hounslow.
With a very small and very wealthy population, the City of London perhaps has no need for a foodbank; though there is more than enough money flying around to sustain one.
Ealing, on the other hand, has the third highest population of any London borough (339300) and Waltham Forest is the fifth most deprived borough. The absence of foodbanks in either of these is perhaps surprising.
Moving on to boroughs which do have foodbanks, Lambeth is the best provided with four. It is the tenth most populous and twenty fifth most deprived borough.
Behind it is Havering, with three foodbanks and a handful with two.
Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Islington, the five most deprived boroughs have only one foodbanks each.
These conclusions are crude and there are many reasons why they don’t paint a conclusive picture:
– Borough boundaries are fundamentally administrative and artificial. Foodbanks clearly serve people from more than one borough.
– No account is taken of how well run or large a particular foodbank is.
– IMD is just one way of calculating the demand for foodbanks.
Never the less, it reinforces the point that the distribution of foodbanks across London is patchy and, relative to the city’s population, there are very few of them.
As a charity, they rely on the enthusiasm of local communities rather than specifically targeting areas which perhaps need them most.
Here is the The data.