This study seeks to provide insight into the association between the Universal Credit policy and food poverty through research conducted in food banks in Bath, Bristol and Oxford. The project will collect and analyse both qualitative and quantitative data about the effect Universal Credit has had on food bank usage. Interviews will be conducted with food bank volunteers about their experiences serving benefits claimants and participatory observation will take place in three food banks. Additionally, a comparison will be performed of available data on food bank usage across time in areas where Universal Credit has been in effect for multiple years, areas where it has recently come into effect and areas not yet affected. This project aims to provide insight as to whether or not Universal Credit has led to an increase in the number of people using food banks, both during the initial implementation process and once the system is established.
This research is being undertaken by Rosemary Sourbut under the supervision of Professor Mary Daly.