A FOODBANK is expecting its busiest Christmas ever as the number of families needing emergency supplies rises.

MP Debbie Abrahams said it was unacceptable that so many families have to rely on foodbanks to get through the festive period.

The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth joined forces with staff and volunteers from Oldham Foodbank and Tesco, in Huddersfield Road, to appeal for donations.

Andrew Barr, manager of Oldham Foodbank, said: "For many Oldhamers, this Christmas will not be a time for celebration.

"Every year we see a spike in demand at Christmas but this year we're expecting our busiest ever.

"We'll be working hard to provide not only those essentials, like pasta and cereal, but also little extras that offer hope at a time when people need it most.

"Last December, the public's generosity meant we could help many people eat over the festive period.

"We rely on donations, which is why we're asking the public to show that same generosity again, not only this December but in the months that follow Christmas too."

Last Christmas, there was a 47 per cent increase in the number of three-day emergencies supplies handed out by Oldham Foodbank, according to Trussel Trust figures.

December, 2016, was the busiest month for Trussell Trust foodbanks on record.

More than 146,798 three-day emergency food supplies were handed out to people in crisis, of which 61,093 went to children.

But recent statistics, showing a 13 per cent increase in foodbank use during the first six months of this financial year, suggest this month will be even busier.

Mrs Abrahams, who is the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "I am grateful for the wonderful work Oldham Foodbank does to support our community and the generosity of people who provide food for those in need.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that so many families rely on foodbanks to get through Christmas.

"We know that the Tories' botched Universal Credit roll-out, and its freeze to social security are causing people to visit foodbanks to make ends meet.

"Labour is calling on the Government to pause and fix Universal Credit before Christmas, and lift the harmful social security freeze."

To donate to Oldham Foodbank, visit https://oldham.foodbank.org.uk/.