Growth of food banks in Scotland is a “scandal”

Free food initiatives have been the biggest growth area in the third sector

by Dec 19, 2012 No Comments

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/

 

Katie Mackintosh Katie Mackintosh

Katie is Holyrood magazine's Health Correspondent and has been with the magazine since 2005. She has an MA in Sociology with Gender from Edinburgh University and a post graduate diploma in Journalism from Napier University. Katie has been named PPA Scotland Feature Writer of the Year three times - in 2008, 2009, and again in 2013. She was also shortlisted for magazine writer of the year at the Scottish Press Awards in 2012. An Aberdonian by birth but a Glaswegian by nature, she now lives in Fife with her husband and young...

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