Following new figures showing foodbank use in Scotland has risen by over a third, the SNP has said Scotland desperately needs the full powers of independence if it is to eradicate the need for foodbanks.
Glasgow MP Chris Stephens, who helped create affordable food projects in Glasgow, has said the Scottish Government, alongside numerous organisations, are tackling poverty and inequality with one hand tied behind their back, as Westminster policies and actions continue to undermine work being done in Scotland.
The figures from the Trussell Trust reveal that 116,000 emergency food parcels were distributed in Scotland in the six months from April to September – an increase of 34% when compared to the same period last year, and 65% when compared to five years ago. 40,000 of these parcels went to children.
The report also shows that 27,000 people in Scotland used a foodbank for the first time in the last six months and that more working people were turning to food banks.
The Trussell Trust, which supports 121 food bank centres in Scotland, has said the cost of living crisis has created a ‘tsunami of need’ and urged the UK government to follow Scotland’s lead in developing a national plan to end the need for foodbanks.
Commenting, Chris Stephens MP, who sits on the Work and Pensions Committee, said:
“Foodbank use has risen dramatically since the Tories came to power in 2010.
“Whilst the SNP Scottish Government has been doing what it can with its limited powers to tackle poverty and inequality, Westminster policies continue to undermine our hard work.
“It is only with the full powers of independence that Scotland stands a chance of eradicating foodbank use for good.
“A prime example of this is the Tory cut to Universal Credit, which completely undermined the £20 per week Scottish Child Payment.
“The Scottish Government is now increasing and extending the Child Payment but we cannot continue to mitigate the damage of Westminster’s bad decisions.
“The Trussell Trusts’ figures are staggering and show the impact of the Tory cost-of-living crisis.
“It also blasts the Tories’ ‘hard work pays’ mantra, and their disregard for the social security net, to smithereens as more and more people in work have to rely on foodbanks.
“Work should pay but this isn’t the case under the Tories who have failed to bring in a Real Living Wage and uprate benefits in line with inflation, as the Scottish Government has done.
“Scotland has made clear it wants to take a different path and independence is the only way we can escape Tory austerity, Brexit and Westminster governments we don’t vote for for good.”