UNIVERSAL CREDIT ‘KEY DRIVER’ OF INCREASING NEED FOR FOOD PARCELS
The number of emergency parcels handed out by food banks in Scotland rose by nearly a quarter over the last year, according to the UK’s largest food bank provider.
The Trussell Trust said its food banks provided more than 210,000 packages to people in crisis in 2018-19 – up 23% from the previous year. In Midlothian, 3,851 and in East Lothian, 5,294 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by food banks.
The food bank provider said that issues with the Tories flagship welfare reform Universal Credit were a “key driver” of increasing food poverty.
In Scotland, 42% of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefits were linked to Universal Credit.
DWP ministers recently admitted the direct link between Universal Credit and soaring foodbank use – something which Tory MSPs have consistently denied.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The botched roll-out of Universal Credit has been a disaster – driving people into poverty, and forcing families to rely on food banks.
“In a country as wealthy as ours it’s unacceptable that emergency parcels and food banks have become so commonplace – and we know, beyond any doubt, that Tory policies are to blame.
“The SNP has long made the case for a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit but those pleas fell on deaf ears. It is unacceptable for the UK government to keep side-lining this issue while families go hungry.
“The disastrous Tory record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.”