Foodbank usage rise in Scotland

Food bank usage has increased in Scotland (credit: Zep19/Flickr)

Food bank usage has increased in Scotland (Photo courtesy of Zep19/Flickr)

The number of Scots using food banks has risen by 17% compared to last year, according to figures released by the Trussell Trust.

Trussell Trust said that on average, people require 1.7 referrals, which suggests that 35,000 people needed the help of food banks between April and September of this year.

Spokesperson for the Trust Lucy Keen said: “We’re seeing an increase in people coming of about 17% across Scotland, and what we find is that benefit delays and low income especially in this six month period compared to last year are particularly high this year.

“Our food banks are geared up for it to be very busy indeed, so it’s the busiest it’s ever been in Scotland.”

It also revealed that food banks gave out three-day emergency food supplies 60,458 times in the same period, a rise of 17% compared to last year.

Delays in benefits payments was the most common reason given for financial hardship, which almost 29% of users citing this as why they were using food banks. This figure remained the same from last year.

Referrals due to benefit changes dropped from 18% to 16%, while those who were referred due to low income rose from 18% to 21%.

Speaking about the figures as a whole, Trussell Trust CEO David McAuley said: “We are investing in additional services at food banks that help people to break out of crisis faster, and we’re seeing really positive results from this.

“In one food bank, after two months, over 90 percent of clients receiving help from their debt and money advice service had either resolved their issues or were close to having done so. But responsibility for helping people out of crisis must not rest with the voluntary sector alone, which is why we also need to see more high-level policy changes that help the poorest and reduce the number of people needing food banks in future.

“We’re seeking to engage politicians across parties in better understanding the reality of hunger and its causes. We want to see hunger and poverty eradicated in the UK, and I’d like to be reporting a massive drop in food bank usage this time next year.”

Listen to Angus Duncan’s report for Radio ENRG on the food bank figures:


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