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Home  >  News  >  Foodbank Use at Record Levels

News

Foodbank Use at Record Levels

Tuesday April 25 2017

Volunteers at Falkirk Foodbank, run by local churches.

Scottish foodbank use has risen again to record levels, according to new figures published by the Trussell Trust today.

The Trust’s 52 Scottish foodbanks provided 145,865 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis – including 47,955 for children – during the 2016/17 financial year. This is a nine per cent increase on the year before.

The Christian charity, the largest provider of foodbanks in Scotland (many of them run from local churches), also said that for the first time low income has become the biggest single reason for referral to a Scottish foodbank, accounting for a quarter of all referrals.

It also released a report raising fears about the new Universal Credit system for administering benefits, saying that foodbanks in areas where the new system has been rolled out are reporting significant problems.

The report, based on UK-wide figures, states that foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit has been fully implemented have seen a 16.85% average increase in referrals of food for couples and families, more than double the national average of 6.64%.

Of Scottish foodbanks that contributed to the research for the report, over half confirmed that the roll out of Universal Credit was a major issue, with a significant number of people referred to foodbanks while they waited for their claims to be processed, which could take anywhere between 3 and 8 weeks. Foodbanks cited increased debt, exacerbation of mental health issues and difficulty budgeting as additional negative impacts on people experiencing problems with Universal Credit.

Ewan Gurr, Scotland Network Manager for the Trussell Trust, said: “The discovery that foodbanks in Scotland gave out enough emergency food to feed the entire population of Dundee for 3 days is deeply worrying and the reasons underpinning this are just as concerning.

“Despite nine Scottish local authorities showing a decrease in foodbank use six months ago, it is clear that a cold Christmas, the rollout of Universal Credit and the ever-increasing pressure on the pockets of low income individuals and families is yielding bitter outcomes.

“Worrying stories emanating from foodbanks highlight the reality that a record 12-month inflation rate of 2.3%  and benefit delays attributed to the rollout of Universal Credit are leaving men, women and children up and down the country sitting at the dinner table with no food in front of them.

“With both Council Elections and a General Election on the horizon, it is absolutely critical for confirmed as well as prospective candidates to put tackling hunger and food poverty front and centre of the policy agenda. It is crucial to amplify the voices of people in poverty in the process and ensure the delivery of a clear and coherent strategy on tackling hunger and food poverty that can be implemented both at local and national level.”

"If it wasn't for the foodbank I don't know where I'd be" - the rise of foodbanks in Scotland


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