Charity reports 20 per cent increase in foodbank use
Glasgow NW foodbank: Picture credit - Danny Lawson/Press Association
Foodbank use in Scotland has increased by 20 per cent in the past year, according to a charity.
The Trussell Trust said between 1 April and 30 September 2017, its foodbank network distributed 76,764 three-day emergency food to families in Scotland, compared to 63,794 during the same period last year
The charity is concerned the situation will worsen leading up to Christmas when demand for food traditionally spikes.
The Trussell Trust said new analysis showed that UK wide, foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit roll out for six months or more have seen a 30 per cent average increase in demand six months after roll out compared to a year before.
Comparative analysis of foodbanks not in full Universal Credit roll out areas showed an average increase of 12 per cent.
Tony Graham, Scotland Director at The Trussell Trust, said: “In the first half of this year a record number of people facing destitution and hunger have been referred to The Trussell Trust foodbank network in Scotland.
“Foodbanks will be working hard to provide dignified, non-judgmental support to people but we are concerned that the ongoing impact of welfare reform - especially Universal Credit roll-out - combined with increased demand we traditionally see over winter, will leave foodbanks struggling to feed everyone that comes through the doors.
“Alongside sensible measures from the Scottish Government to add flexibility to Universal Credit, we call on the Government in Westminster to do more to mitigate the worst effects of this reform.
“This must include a reduction in the six-week wait for payment that our foodbanks tell us causes misery, destitution and hunger.”
However, a DWP spokesman said the reasons for food bank use were “wide and complex, and for this report to link it to any one issue would be misleading”.
"We're clear that advance payments are widely available from the start of anyone's UC claim, and urgent cases are fast-tracked so no-one should be without funds.
"We know the majority of UC claimants are confident in managing their money.
"Budgeting support and direct rent payments to landlords are also available to those who need them."
Scottish Labour’s DWP spokesperson, Hugh Gaffney, said the figures were “thoroughly disheartening”.
“It is appalling that anyone in Scotland in the 21st century should have to rely on food banks to be able to eat, yet that is exactly the situation we are in,” he added.
He called on politicians to take responsibility for this “sorry state of affairs” and work to understand how they can solve the problem.