A recent report from the Trusell Trust has found the number of Scots using foodbanks has double.
The data which was published today shows that nearly 500,000 emergency food parcels were sent out in Scotland between April 2017 and September 2018. Worryingly, this figure is lower than the total number given 10 independent foodbanks were unable to give details.
However, of the 118 Trussell Trust organisations as well as the 84 independent service details, the report found 480,583 food parcels were issued during this 18-month period.
Experts are also warning that data on food parcel distribution still only provides a partial picture of the number of people in Scotland who are struggling to feed themselves and their families; with most people choosing to use other ways of coping, like skipping meals, rather than use a food bank.
And Alan Brown MP has slammed the Government for their role in this shocking rise. The Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun has laid the blame at the door of the Tories, due to their welfare policies.
Commenting Mr Brown said: “These are shocking figures that illustrate the appalling impact of years of Tory austerity has had on communities across Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is spending hundreds of millions mitigating the worst of Tory cuts but we know there’s a direct link between harmful policies such as Universal Credit and foodbank use. They should be utterly ashamed of these figures—and they must urgently change track.
“Research has shown that changes to the UK-wide benefits system, along with zero hours and temporary contracts that contribute to in-work poverty, is a key driver of foodbank use. The UK Government needs to urgently fix the broken system to ensure a welfare system that delivers on fundamental human rights.”
Scottish Conservative MP, Colin Clark has previously said: “I consider that fact that there are food banks to support people an example of people being charitable.”
And spokesperson for the Scottish Tories also said: “The SNP has more than enough powers to deal with the very problems its complaining about.”
Despite these comments from Scottish Conservatives, Mr Brown said: “The report states that the UK benefits system is a “key driver” of foodbank use. Furthermore, the Trussell Trust’s most recent figures show a 15% year-on-year increase, which is linked directly to the roll out of Universal Credit.”
Also commenting, Sabine Goodwin from Independent Food Aid Network stated: “We need action that deals with the root causes (of food poverty). We need a social security system that is fit for purpose, and wages that are related to the cost of living.”
Finally, Mary Anne MacLeod from A Menu for Change: “The Scottish Government should be commended for its plans to help families put food on the table through the new income supplement (promised by 2022)”
“These figures are truly shameful in rich Scotland and they make for uncomfortable reading for our political leaders.”