The Trussell Trust said that across the UK it had seen a 76% increase in the number of food banks launched since April 2012 and a 170% rise in the numbers of people given emergency food over the same period.

Government ministers have suggested the rise in users is partly explained through the fact the number of food banks had increased.

Jacqui White, manager of the Bodmin food bank in Cornwall, said: "People in need have always been with us and to some degree I guess they always will be.

"But it's our job to alleviate the situation of people right now."

The government said it had taken action to help families with the cost of living through measures like increasing the tax-free personal allowance and freezing fuel duty.

And it said its welfare reforms would improve the lives of some of the poorest families.

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