A local MP has criticised the UK Government for presiding over an eruption in the demand for foodbanks in Scotland.
Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has claimed that figures from the Trussell Trust, a UK wide charity who runs our local foodbanks show that foodbank use here in Scotland has increased by 3,473 per cent since 2011.
Trussell Trust figures show that demand from April to September 2015 stood at 60,458 compared to 51,647 in the same quarter in 2014; however, only 1,692 people used foodbanks in Scotland in the same period in 2011 – representing a 3,473 per cent increase.
The top primary referral causes cited by the biggest foodbank charity are: benefit delays (30.93%); low income (20.29%); and benefit changes (16.97%).
Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “The demand for foodbank use in Scotland has shockingly soared by 3,473 per cent since 2011 under the Tory government’s watch.
“David Cameron and his cronies have created a contemporary crisis in modern Scotland whereby men, women and children are forced to rely on handouts in order to survive – foodbanks are no mistake, they are a Tory-made tragedy.
“Foodbanks and the thousands of people who support them are doing a phenomenal job and, in doing so, help stop people in our communities from going hungry. However, the undeniable truth is that there should be no food poverty in a country as rich as Scotland.
“Charities who work day-to-day at the coalface, like the Trussell Trust, tell us that benefit delays, low income and benefit changes are the reasons why people are forced to the doors of their local foodbank. The UK Government’s ideologically-driven assault on our social security system, dressed up as ‘welfare reform’, are to blame and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“The draconian policies of the Tory government – who were given a resounding vote of no confidence by the people of Scotland at the last election – are punishing cash-strapped families. The case has never been clearer for Scotland to be given full powers over welfare to champion a fairer social security system for our people.”
Derek Mackay, MSP for Renfrewshire North & West said “These figures are alarming – they represent almost 3,000 occasions where people in Renfrewshire were in such dire straits that they could not afford to eat and on over 700 occasions this happened to a family with children.
“The figures also show that UK Government benefit changes and delays continue to be the most common reason for people seeking emergency food aid. While Tory Ministers have their head in the sand on the issue, the Scottish Government recognises this link and is spending almost £300 million over three years to mitigate Tory social security cuts.
“That any government would consider further cuts to the incomes of the poorest families in Renfrewshire in the face of such clear evidence of rising poverty is appalling – yet George Osborne is set to plough ahead with £12 billion more social security cuts.
“These new figures will put further pressure on George Osborne to scrap his planned cuts to Tax Credits – we will not let up on our opposition to these callous cuts. And if they do go ahead we stand ready to protect low income households across Renfrewshire.”