Figures from the Trussell Trust show that in 2012/13 Scottish foodbanks provided help to 14,318 people, but in 2013/14 that figure had increased to 71,428, an increase of 400%.
In Midlothian, a total of 1,390 people were using foodbanks, of which, more than 34% (480) were children. In East Lothian, a total of 1,570 people were using foodbanks, of which, more than 31% (496) were children.
Benefit changes, benefit delays and low income are cited by the Trussell Trust as the key causes of people in Scotland seeking support from their food banks.
At the recent SNP Conference, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a £1 million package of support for food banks that will help them to provide the support that many people are now relying upon.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“It is a grim reality that in a country as wealthy as Scotland, Westminster’s actions have forced more than 1,300 in Midlothian, and more than 71,400 across the whole of Scotland, to rely on food banks to survive.
“What is particularly worrying is the number of children relying on foodbanks. Children make up 30% of the number of people using foodbanks. And it is only going to get worse as the Child Poverty Action Group report that Westminster reforms will plunge another 100,000 children into poverty by 2020. It doesn’t have to be this way and the referendum in September allows Scotland the chance to things drastically different.
“The announcement of a £1 million package of support for food banks is certainly proof of the Scottish Governments intentions to alleviate some of the negative effects of Westminster’s actions.
“However, Scotland needs the responsibility for our own decisions on tax and welfare so that people are no longer forced to rely upon food banks.
“With a YES vote in September, we will be able to ensure that Scotland’s tax and welfare system reflect the priorities of people in Scotland.”