Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond and North East MSP Christian Allard have welcomed the Scottish Government’s £518,000 support for projects across Scotland to help tackle food poverty.
A total of 26 projects across Scotland will benefit from the funding including Instant Neighbour, a charity that helps thousands of people living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
The number of people using foodbanks in Scotland between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, increased by 400% to 71,428 people, according to the Trussell Trust. This includes more than 22,000 children who used their foodbanks during this period.
The Scottish Government’s Emergency Food Fund (EFF) has already committed £500,000 to charity Fareshare, which redistributes surplus food from retailers to local charities, as part of a £1million investment in food aid.
Commenting, Mr Salmond said: “The number of people in Aberdeenshire who rely on foodbanks has increased phenomenally and the opening of volunteer-run facilities in Inverurie and Ellon shows just how desperate a situation so many people are in.
“It is a disgrace that there is such a high level of demand for foodbanks in one of the most affluent regions of a very wealthy country.
“Westminster’s welfare reforms have forced thousands of our most vulnerable adults and children into poverty.
“With independence, Scotland’s wealth can be invested in reducing the inequality that exists within our society and we can create a fairer, more successful nation.”
Mr Allard commented: “It is welcome news that more than £500,000 will go to organisations across Scotland that help those in food poverty on a daily basis but it saddens me that so many rely so heavily on the services of foodbanks.
“This funding will provide a vital lifeline for hundreds of families across the north-east of Scotland.
“The Trussell Trust has highlighted that Westminster’s cuts to welfare are a key driving force in the increase in demand at foodbanks across the country.
“In a week when the UK Government appointed 22 new members to the House of Lords, among them a number of prominent Tory party donors, it is clear that Westminster has its priorities all wrong.”
For further information on the Trussell Trust, visit www.trusselltrust.org