Banff and Buchan MSP calls for action on foodbank use

Stewart Stevenson says on welfare reform has left people with no other choices.
Stewart Stevenson says on welfare reform has left people with no other choices.

Stewart Stevenson MSP has called for urgent action from the UK Government as foodbank use reaches crisis point across the North-east.

It was revealed this week that almost 600,000 food parcels were handed out in Scotland over 18 months seeing a 22% rise.

Charities have slammed Westminster cuts, with data revealing that between April 2018 and September 2019, 278,258 emergency food parcels were distributed by independent foodbanks in Scotland – with a further 318,214 parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust.

A group of front-line organisations, including Oxfam Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group, is now calling on the UK government to remove the unfair two-child limit and benefit cap, increase the National Living Wage, uprate all benefits in line with inflation, and ban zero-hours contracts.

In stark contrast to Westminster austerity, the Scottish Government has been working to develop a social security system with dignity and fairness at its heart – introducing a raft of benefits to provide much needed financial support to low income families, including a brand new benefit which will provide eligible families with £10 a week for every child under 16 by 2022.

Mr Stevenson, said: “It’s a sign of the times that people are dependent on food donations in a rich country – and an indictment on welfare reform which has left people with no other choices.

“While food banks such as the ones in Peterhead and Macduff do an excellent job of providing support for those who need it, the fact that they even exist is a damning result of UK Government policies which are actively driving people into desperate situations.

“The UK government needs to wake up to the cost of this crisis and stop shunning responsibility, before more families and children are pushed into the poverty.”