Need for food parcels in Scotland at highest levels in five years

Figures from the Trussell Trust shows more than 128,000 food parcels were handed out in Scottish food banks between April and September this year.

Across food banks in Aberdeen and wider Aberdeenshire, the Trussell Trust provided 4,162 parcels between April and September of 2018.

This year the number has skyrocketed to 11,569, with the number of parcels for children in the same area and time period has risen from 1,384 to a staggering 3,983.

Head of Scotland operations, Polly Jones, believes the increased demand is due to problems with the benefits system.

She said: “The issue is about how much money you get if you receive social security benefit, particularly Universal Credit.

"At the very least it’s £35 too short a week to cover the basics, and that’s why people are coming to food banks…the money that they’ve got coming in just does not go far enough”.

“It’s absolutely not right that anyone in Scotland, in the UK, needs to turn to a food bank to feed themselves and their families. We can do so much better than that”.

According to the charity’s figures, they are expecting to hand out 1 million food parcels across the UK between December and February. This statistic is one that paints a worrying picture of the Trussell Trust’s future, as Polly says the demand is becoming too great.

“Given how many parcels we’ve given out over the last six months we unfortunately expect to be giving out a parcel every eight seconds through the winter…which is clearly not sustainable," she added. 

“That’s why we need proper action from government at all levels to fix the social security system”.

During the April to September period, 59% of food parcels that were handed out went to families with children - this data has led to calls from the charity for the government to increase the Scottish Child Payment. 

A DWP spokesperson said there are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010. 

They added: "We know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.

"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this month and our decision to raise benefits by over 10% earlier this year.

 “We also know that households are at least £6,000 a year better off in full-time work than out of work on benefits, and to help people out of poverty through work we are also increasing the National Living Wage again and investing £3.5 billion to help thousands into jobs, grow the economy and bear down on inflation.”

Information about nearby food banks and an advice line can be found on the Trussell Trust website.

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