The number of people using food banks in Scotland has grown by an incredible two thousand percent in the last five years according to figures made available through the Trussell Trust, one of the county’s largest providers of food banks.
The numbers of children being supported has also risen from just under 2000 in 2012 to a recorded 43,000 children being supplied with an emergency food parcels in the year 2015/16.
On a visit to a food bank in Crosshill, Fife, Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Alex Rowley described the figures as both “disappointing, and shocking in 21st century Scotland” but added that he was left feeling “deeply humbled by the commitment of the volunteers.”
He said: “It’s very sad that foodbanks have almost become a part of everyday life in modern day Scotland and all politicians must take responsibility for working to understand why this is and what needs to be done to reverse this growing and unacceptable situation.”
The MSP said that over 40% of those who access foodbanks do so as a result of changes and delays to benefits including sanctions, and said the new social security powers coming to Scotland must be designed in a way that “helps people rather than punishing them.” The figures also show that almost 24% of those accessing help were working and living on low incomes.
Mr Rowley continued: “In every part of Scotland we have seen the establishment and growing up-take of emergency food parcels and whilst I am grateful to all the volunteers who staff these food banks and the thousands of people who donate, we must find a better way than people and children being left destitute and reliant on charity for the most basic human need, food.”