Scotland’s foodbanks see 62 per cent increase in food parcels for children
Scotland’s biggest foodbank network has seen a 62 per cent increase in the number of food parcels going to children in April this year compared to the year before.
The figures from the Trussell Trust reveal that there was a 47 per cent increase in overall foodbank use in Scotland in April 2020, the busiest month ever for the network’s foodbanks.
However, Scotland experienced less of an increase than the UK as a whole, which saw 89 per cent more food parcels given out overall and a 107 per cent increase in food parcels going to children.
Children aged 0-16 make up 20 per cent of the UK population, but the statistics from the Trussell Trust show that they make up 43 per cent of the additional parcels distributed in April.
Meanwhile, foodbanks in the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reporting a 175 per cent increase in need for emergency food parcels given out in the UK during April 2020 compared to the same month last year.
John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “These new stats are horrifying and must act as a wake-up call to government at every level.
“No child should have to rely on charity food parcels, yet thousands now are.
“These are families, in and out of work, that urgently need financial support to prevent the crisis that forces them to the foodbank.
“The UK Chancellor must act with utmost urgency to increase family benefits, but here in Scotland ministers must also build on their welcome boost to the welfare fund with an immediate cash payment to all low-income families and a commitment to extend free school meal cash replacements through the summer.”
Across the UK, a coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group, Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, StepChange and Turn2us, is calling on the UK Government to provide more support for families to prevent children from being swept into destitution.
This includes increasing benefits that go to families with children, extending the suspension of benefit deductions and lifting the benefit cap.
Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie said: “We have been seeing rises in foodbank need for the past five years but this 89 per cent increase – with the number of families coming to food banks doubling – is completely unprecedented and not right.
“People need to be able to put food on their table. The government must put urgent support in place to ensure people already struggling to keep their heads above water can stay afloat.
“We have outlined what we need our government to do – it’s in our power to protect one another, we’ve seen it during this health crisis, and we need it to continue during this economic one.”