Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this week Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley thanked the volunteers who give up their time to help others in the many food banks in his constituency and across the country.
The Labour politician was however scathing of the growth in food banks stating that ‘it cannot be right and it is not right that in 2016 we have men, women and children reliant on charity to feed themselves’. He continued; ‘For the first time in over half a century we have absolute poverty in communities up and down the country given that absolute poverty exists where an individual is unable to afford the basic essentials to survive’.
“In the Dunfermline area which includes food banks in my constituency in Cowdenbeath, Crosshill, Inverkeithing and Rosyth over 10,000 people have been supported with emergency food parcels in the last three years. The most common reasons that people need to turn to emergency food parcels according the Trussell trust is benefit sanctions and welfare reform”.
He also quoted from the Trussell Trust who have said; “The UK government are trying to find ways of eating into the national debt, while many people are just trying to find ways to eat”.
Mr Rowley is making the argument that the benefits system must be more focussed on supporting people to access skills, training and jobs and said; “We need a social security system based on respect for those it aims to help treating people with dignity and with a focus on increasing peoples opportunities and choices”.
The MSP also visited the Cowdenbeath food bank to than volunteers for the work they do and to hear from them the many issues and causes that mean people are having to access emergency food parcels.
Photo shows Alex Rowley meeting volunteers at Cowdenbeath Food Bank