Foodbank use rise is a scandal says MSP

Smyth MSP visits Galloway foodbank.
Smyth MSP visits Galloway foodbank.

The use of foodbanks in the region has shot up by 22 per cent in a single year, a situation described as “a scandal” by South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth.

He was responding to the release of annual statistics by the Trussell Trust, the country’s main foodbank organiser.

The figures show that, in 2018/19, 2,707 three-day emergency food parcels were distributed in Dumfries and Galloway to adults and a further 720 parcels distributed for children.

The Trussell Trust has identified that almost half its food parcels nationally are being distributed as a result of delayed Universal Credit payments.

When an application is made for Universal Credit, an applicant has to wait five weeks before a first payment is made. Colin Smyth is backing the Trussell Trust’s #5WeekstooLong campaign to close this timegap.

He stated: “These figures are devastating for Dumfries and Galloway. Behind these statistics are ordinary people across our region who are having to depend on food banks for survival.

“Many of those families relying on foodbanks are in work but wages in our region remain far too low for too many people. With over 3,400 food parcels being delivered by the Trussell Trust alone in our region it is clear that immediate action must be taken by the UK and Scottish Governments.

“Increasingly, I have constituents approach me due to the harshness of Universal Credit and I have seen first hand how families are struggling. It is clear that there must be immediate changes, not only to fix Universal Credit but also to end the foodbank scandal that is getting worse year on year.

“That is why I am backing the Trussell Trust’s #5WeekstooLong campaign which would be an easy first step for the UK Government to take to end the use of foodbanks.”