Camden gave out the fourth highest number of food bank parcels in the UK over the year to April after two years in which the number of households in need nearly doubled.

A record of almost three million emergency parcels were handed out at food banks across the UK in the year to March, a 37% increase compared to the previous year.

And this year Camden distributed the fourth highest number of 304 local authorities listed in the Trussell Trust charity's end-of-year statistics.

A total of 44,709 packages were given out in the borough between April 1, 2022, and March 31 this year.

Figures show that 27,825 of these were for adults and 44,709 were for children.

Ham & High: Food laid out in crates at a food bank in north London.

There are four distribution centres operating within Camden.

Just three other authorities handed out more food in the past year – Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Birmingham.

Ealing was the only other London borough to distribute anything like as many as Camden, with 42,336 parcels.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, the trust recorded 28,745 deliveries in Camden, with 28,062 in the previous year.

The trust says its UK-wide network distributed the most parcels over the past year it has ever sent out.

In a sign of what the charity said is increasing need amid the cost-of-living crisis, more than 760,000 people – more than the population of Sheffield in the last census – used a food bank in the network for the first time.

The charity said the level of need was greater than during the first year of the pandemic, and that there was a particularly high demand in December, with a parcel being distributed by staff and volunteers across the country every eight seconds.

The Trussell Trust said the problem is “not a regionalised issue”, with an increase of at least 28% in each area of the UK.

Brian Thomas, chief executive at South Tyneside Foodbank, said the “unprecedented rise” in food bank users coupled with food donations not keeping up has led to a “real pressure cooker situation”.

The charity’s senior research manager Emma Newbury said: “We see that there is some respite with the cost of living payments but that is short-lived and shows that one-off payments are unable to make lasting difference when people’s regular income from social security and work is just too low for them to be able to afford the essentials.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to eradicating poverty and we recognise the pressures of the rising cost of living which is why we have uprated benefits by 10.1% as well as making an unprecedented increase to the National Living Wage this month.

“This is on top of changes already made to Universal Credit which mean claimants can keep more of their hard-earned money – a boost worth £1,000 a year on average.

“We are also providing record levels of direct financial support for the most vulnerable – £1,200 last year and a further £1,350 in 2023/24, with over eight million families starting to receive their first £301 Cost of Living instalment from yesterday – while the Household Support Fund is helping people with essential costs.”