Hyslop Criticises UK Government for Cuts as Emergency Foodbank Parcels Rise to over 1,000 a Day
Fiona Hyslop MSP for the Linlithgow Constituency is calling on the UK Government to wake up to the crisis caused by austerity cuts. Recently released research from Oxfam shows that nearly 600,000 food parcels were handed out in Scotland between April 2018 and September 2019. This works out on average at over 1,000 food parcels each day.
In March 2019, A Menu for Change and the Independent Food Aid Network collated the total number of food parcels handed out in Scotland for the first time, by combining Trussell Trust statistics and research from independent food banks, which make up 42 percent of the food bank picture. This second wave of research published in January showed a 22% rise in food parcels compared to the previous eighteen-month period.
“The work that our foodbank volunteers do and the generous donations from the public provide a life source for those who need emergency food and toiletries packages. But this massive increase in foodbank packages in just over a year is unacceptable.
“Across the whole country almost 600,000 food parcels have been handed out from spring 2018 to autumn 2019. On average that is over 1,000 parcels being handed out to families and individuals every single day.
“The Scottish Government set up the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013 using £23.8 million transferred from the UK Government when it abolished Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans. Scottish Government added a further £9.2m in year one and have maintained it at that level since 2013.
“The extent of the UK Government’s disregard for our most vulnerable in society is staggering. Cuts to benefits, delayed social security payments, and placing sanctions on vulnerable people at every opportunity. The UK Government need to wake up and accept responsibility and act now to prevent even more families being pushed into poverty and deliver full welfare powers to the Scottish Government, so we can do more.”
Nearly £210 million has been paid out to more than 347,000 households in crisis since the Scottish Welfare Fund was introduced on 1 April 2013.
If the Scottish Government had merely uprated that initial £23.8 million annually by inflation the fund would have increased gradually to £26.9 million over the past 6 years. That is £6.1 million less than its actual current value.
Instead the Scottish Government increased the Fund to £33 million in year one and have maintained it at that level since 2013.