Free food initiatives have been the biggest growth area in the third sector
The growth in demand for food banks in Scotland is a “scandal”, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Margaret Curran MP has said.
Speaking during a debate on the subject at Westminster, Curran said it is “appalling” that despite living in one of the richest countries in the world people in Scotland have to rely on food banks to feed their families.
She continued: “This year, thousands of Scots have had to turn to charity from food banks because they just haven’t had enough money to make ends meet. This isn’t just affecting people who are out of work, it’s also hitting hard working families on low incomes who are seeing their food and fuel bills increase.”
Scots are “trapped” between two Governments north and south of the border who have got their priorities wrong, she said.
“The UK Government doesn’t even bother to count the number of people using food banks and the Scottish Government has sat on their hands when it comes to poverty, but managed to spend hundreds of pounds each day on food and drink for the First Minister.”
In the latest issue, Holyrood reported that one of the UK’s largest food bank providers has opened six food banks in Scotland alone in the past eight weeks, with another planning to open in Broxburn in the new year to support those affected by the closure of the Halls of Broxburn meat processing plant. A spokesperson for the Trussell Trust, which has more than 20 foodbanks in Scotland, told Holyrood that demand for its services in Scotland had “accelerated” in recent weeks as communities prepare for the impact of controversial changes to benefits by the UK Government.
Lindsay Roy MP, who led Scottish Labour’s debate on food banks in the House of Commons today, said:
“Today I wanted to draw attention to what Scottish Labour MPs across the country have been seeing in their constituencies – the rise of food poverty and a growing number of food banks.
“It’s shocking that the Government have no idea how many people are using food banks. These are Scotland’s hidden hungry; and neither the Scottish or UK Governments know where they are or how many people are affected. These don’t know, don’t care Governments need to act now to establish the full scale of this problem.”
Holyrood editor, Mandy Rhodes wrote about food banks in the latest issue: http://www.holyrood.com/2012/12/the-hunger-games/