A ST Helens MP has called for urgent action following new figures showing that 2,224 food parcels were provided to residents this year.

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn is demanding a change after the Trussell Trust the UK’s biggest food bank network, revealed their figures from April to September which also highlighted that 778 of the emergency aid parcels - which contain enough food for three days - went to children in the borough.

Mr McGinn said: “It’s shocking that number of people in St Helens who are forced to rely on food banks has continued to rise.

“I have visited the food bank in St Helens and met the volunteers there do an amazing job.

“But it’s shameful that so many people, including children, have been pushed into poverty because of this Tory Government’s policies.

“As one of the world’s richest economies in 2016, families should not be reliant on emergency food handouts just to survive.

“That’s why I support the Trussell Trust’s idea of a new hotline to help the most urgent cases.”

The Trussell Trust, which has 420 food banks across the UK, is calling on the Government to set up special telephone hotlines between food banks and the Department for Work and Pensions to enable volunteers to help those using food banks solve their problems more quickly.

The Trussell Trust said problems with benefit payments, including administrative delays and benefit sanctions, were the biggest reason why individuals were referred to food banks.

It says the new hotline would focus on the most urgent cases and provide vital, trouble-shooting support for people referred to food banks because of problems with a welfare claim.

David McAuley, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: “To stop UK hunger we must make sure the welfare system works fairly and compassionately, stopping people getting to a point where they have no money to eat.”