Donations to food banks in Spain fall amist inflation and rising shortage

Photo: Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press/Getty Images

Spain's main consumer organisation, OCU, in its annual survey of a basket of basic goods in 80 supermarkets around the country recorded on Tuesday (September 27) a price rise of an average of 15.2 percent over the year to May, the highest in 34 years.

Food banks are reporting a rise over the past three months in young families who are working but can no longer make their earnings stretch far enough.

Hundreds now queue at food banks across Spain to get food they can no longer afford, but food banks are also struggling to stock up as donations dwindle because donors no longer have a surplus to give away.

The fall in donations is particularly problematic when demand on food banks is increasing.

OCU on Tuesday called on the government to suspend taxes on the sale of basic foodstuffs as a stop-gap measure to help poor families hit by a sharp rise in supermarket prices.

The proposal echoes that of supermarket chains and the conservative opposition People's Party as a means of combating annual food price inflation that hit 13.8 percent in August, the highest since 1994, according to the National Statistics Institute.

Earlier this month, Spain's labour minister - the most senior government official from junior, far-left coalition partner Unidas Podemos - tried unsuccessfully to persuade large supermarket chains to offer a basket of fresh produce at prices fixed until January.

The Spanish Statistical Office (INE) data showed last Friday that Spanish prices rose 9.3 percent in the 12 months to September, a fall of more than one percentage point, thanks to a public transportation price cut and an electricity price slowdown.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile fresh food and energy prices, was at 6.2 percent year-on-year, down from 6.4 percent in August, the INE data showed.