Report shows a 22 per cent rise in use in Scotland in 18 months
A GROUP, which distributes food parcels in Annandale and Eskdale, recorded an increase from 331 in 2018 to 421 in 2019.
Kate’s Kitchen is based in
Annan but also runs fortnightly pop-up kitchens in Langholm and Lockerbie.
It contributed to a national
report by Menu for Change and the Independent Food Aid
Network (IFAN) which revealed the full scale of food bank use in Scotland.
It showed 596,472 emergency food parcels were handed out from April 2018 to September 2019. This equates to more than 1,000 food parcels, on average, every day.
Between those dates 278,258 emergency food parcels were distributed by 91 of the 101
independent food banks operating in Scotland for which data were available.
This represented a 22 per cent rise compared with the 480,583 parcels given out during the previous 18 months.
Food bank figures represent only the tip of the iceberg of those experiencing food insecurity, with people often skipping meals or going without food
instead of using a food bank.
The figures do not account for other types of emergency food aid provision.
A Menu for Change, a partnership between Oxfam
Scotland, Nourish Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and Child Poverty Action Group in
Scotland, IFAN say the UK government must ensure people have sustainable and secure
incomes to stop them being pushed into food insecurity.
Last year research by A Menu for Change revealed how inadequate and insecure incomes from social security and work caused people to become food insecure.
The partnership is demanding that the new increases the National Living Wage to the Real Living Wage, restores the value of key benefits and uprates all benefits with inflation.
It also wants the income, which families receive, to be improved by removing the two-child limit and benefit cap, zero-hours contracts banned to improve job
security and better support for people who experience income shocks through life events like illness and bereavement.
Scottish ministers must also use their powers to increase funding to the Scottish Welfare Fund which has faced a real-terms cut since 2013, ensuring local authorities are fully able to support people at crisis point.
The growing need for foodbanks in Dumfries and Galloway has been labelled a “scandal” by Colin Smyth, South Scotland Labour MSP.
The report revealed that a further 12,963 food parcels were distributed by independent food banks in the region from April 2018 to September 2019, up by eight per cent on the previous period.
The figures are on top of food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust which handed out 3,427 emergency food parcels in the region, with 720 distributed to children.
Mr Smyth said: “It’s nothing short of a scandal that demand for foodbanks continues to rise year after year as poverty
“Groups, which provide foodbanks, deserve our appreciation because they provide a real lifeline for so many.
“But in 2020 they should not be needed. The fact they are, because so many children still face going to bed hungry, should shame the UK and Scottish governments into urgent action.
“Many who turn to foodbanks are employed but struggle to get by because of the scourge of low pay.
“It’s clear the UK Government’s welfare reform and the grossly-unfair Universal Credit is fuelling the rise in the number of food parcels needed.
“There is more the Scottish government can do to make sure every person has access to
affordable housing, a real living wage and stable jobs market which means it pays to work so they don’t have to rely on foodbanks.”