The SNP is today highlighting figures which show the number of people having to use foodbanks is nearly four times higher than last year.

In written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, the Trussell Trust states that in the 11 months between 1 April 2013 and 24 February 2013, 56,052 people used one of their foodbanks. This is up almost 300% on the 14,318 people who needed assistance during the whole of 2012/13.

Benefit delays and changes are highlighted as the reason behind 50% of foodbank referrals, and the Trust points out that many people seeking help are in work.

However the Trust also states it: “applauds the support of the Scottish Government thus far and the publication of their 2013 report on emergency food aid provision”.

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald, said:

“The fact that over 56,000 people in Scotland – an increase of almost 300% on last year - have had to ask for help to put food on their family’s table is an absolute scandal and the blame lies squarely at Westminster's door.

“It is no surprise that the Trussell Trust has found benefit delays and changes are behind at least half of all foodbank referrals. Last month, a report from Citizen’s Advice Scotland also pointed to changes to the benefit system as the reason for increasing use. Westminster cuts are penalising the poor and risk pushing up to 100,000 children in Scotland into poverty by 2020. We are now in the unbelievable position of seeing the gains made in tackling child poverty with devolution under threat from the Tories propped up by their Lib Dem partners.

“As the Trust highlights, the Scottish Government is doing what it can to support those in need of food. But only independence means we will no longer have to mop up the mess of bad Westminster policy.

“I have visited the local foodbank myself and met with Alf Collington who is organising the excellent work carried out by volunteers. I am impressed by the work they do and the number of families they assist. Recently I was pleased to be able to support this valuable work with a monetary donation as a result of completing an IPSOS Mori poll.

“As part of the UK, Scotland has become the fourth most unequal nation in the developed world. The rise in foodbanks is a consequence of this. And the cuts so far are just the beginning – in January, George Osborne made it clear that a future Tory government will implement further cuts of £25bn, with almost half of those falling on the welfare budget.

“With a Yes vote next September we can make Scotland fairer, closing the gap between rich and poor and ensuring that families across the country can afford to put food on their tables.”





Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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