Hyslop Warns Tory Welfare Cuts are Driving West Lothian Foodbank Demand
New figures from the Trussell Trust show that 3,109 of three day emergency food parcels were handed out in West Lothian this year, including 1,058 provided for children.
The statistics released this week show April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. The main reasons cited for people needing emergency food in Scotland are low benefit income (38%), and delays (19%) or changes (17%) to benefits being paid.
“These shocking figures follow a trend of increased food bank demand since the roll out of the UK Government’s Universal Credit policy.
“This increased reliance on food banks across West Lothian is the most damning indictment of the UK Government’s approach to our society’s most vulnerable people.
“Food bank organisers and volunteers are dedicated and compassionate individuals but, let’s be clear, they should not be needed. It is unacceptable that food bank provision has become commonplace under the Tories’ watch.
“The SNP has strongly opposed the benefits freeze, the two-child cap and the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit but these callous Tory welfare cuts have pushed more and more Scots into poverty.
“The upcoming election is a chance to hold the Tories to account – and the SNP are the only party who can beat the Tories in Scotland. Scotland must have the option to escape from Brexit and yet more Tory austerity.”
New data released today shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. During the six months, 107,609 three-day emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis in the Scotland; more than a third of these (35,464) went to children.
This is a 22% increase on the same period in 2018 – the sharpest rate of increase the charity has seen for the past five years.
The main reasons for people needing emergency food in Scotland are low benefit income (38%), and delays (19%) or changes (17%) to benefits being paid.
The new figures come just a week after the Trussell Trust released State of Hunger, the most in-depth study ever published into hunger and the drivers of food bank use in the UK. The research revealed:
- The average weekly income of households at food banks is only £50 after paying rent
- One in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food
- 94% of people at food banks are destitute
The Trussell Trust’s statistics:
- ‘Emergency food parcel’: three days’ emergency food for one person. These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals. Recent analysis shows on average people need around two food bank referrals in a year. More information about the way this data is gathered and what it can and can’t show here.
- Between 1st April 2019 and 31st September 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust’s network provided 823,145 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 301,653 of these supplies went to children.
- This is a 23% increase on the previous six months, when 668,678 emergency supplies went to people in crisis; 237,708 of these went to children.
- Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK, because figures relate to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and not to the hundreds of independent food banks. There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in the Trussell Trust’s network across the UK – research from the Independent Food Aid Network shows there are at least 805 independent food banks, so the Trussell Trust network accounts for roughly two-thirds of all food banks.
- The Independent Food Aid Network and A Menu for Change recently published data on the number of emergency food parcels distributed by independent food banks in Scotland which almost doubles the scale shown by figures from the Trussell Trust network – more detail here.
About The Trussell Trust:
- The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that supports a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK.
- It takes more than food to end hunger. The Trussell Trust therefore does three things: supports its network to provide emergency food to people referred; helps food banks to provide on-site additional help or signpost people to relevant local charities to resolve the cause of referral; and brings together the experiences of hundreds of communities on the front line to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for long-term change so we can see a future without the need for food banks.
- Read more at trusselltrust.org