Food Bank Use Soars by 30% in Universal Credit Pilot Areas

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Tuesday November 7 2017

Charity conforms Tory welfare cuts are driving the rise in food poverty.

Food bank use has soared 30% over the last year in areas that are already enduring the roll out of Universal Credit, research by Trussell Trust has revealed.

The charity found that foodbank use across Scotland has shot up by a fifth, with 76,764 three-day emergency food supplies given out to people in need in the first half of 2017.

Despite the Tory Government describing the reasons behind increasing demand for food banks as “complex” – this research confirms that 42% of referrals were solely due to issues with benefit payments.

The Trussell Trust has called for urgent action to improve Universal Credit.

The director in Scotland said:

"Not only would it be morally wrong for us to become a de facto arm of the welfare state - if welfare reform and UC roll-out continues unchanged, we simply would not be able to catch everyone that falls."

Commenting, Ruth Maguire MSP who will raise a topical question on the issue of rising child poverty in parliament today, said:

“There is overwhelming evidence from academics, charities and foodbank providers that Tory welfare cuts are the driving force behind the record rise in people needing emergency food provision.

“It is downright insulting that Theresa May and her government continue to dismiss the reasons for rising food bank use as “complex”.

“It isn’t.

“If people don’t have enough money to buy food, they need to rely on foodbanks and other emergency and crisis aid such as the Scottish Government’s Scottish Welfare Fund.

"76,764 people across Scotland were forced to turn to food banks to survive in the first half of this year and it is heart-breaking that children make up a third of those relying on these services to eat.

“This research comes in the same week a Child Poverty Action Group report confirmed that Tory Government policy threatens to send one million more children into poverty.

“The SNP spends more than £100 million a year militating against Tory welfare cuts and a £1m Fair Food Fund has been established to help tackle food poverty.

“The Chancellor must use his Autumn Budget to reverse seven years of Tory austerity that is destroying communities and take the long-overdue action needed to boost incomes, and the Prime Minister must immediately halt the roll out of Universal Credit before more households are driven into hardship and destitution.”



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