Increase in food banks 'due to welfare reform'

WELFARE reform by the UK Government is the reason behind the increase in the number of people using food banks, MSPs were told.

Loading Comments
Share
Print
Demand for food banks has increased
Demand for food banks has increased

Charities who operate foodbanks told the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee it was obvious benefit cuts and sanctions, often wrongly imposed, were leading to greater poverty and hunger.

The committee heard of an increase in demand since the reforms started and a sharper rise since last April when the bedroom tax began and were told of more families and people in work unable to make their income last.

On Monday the Evening Times revealed Oxfam, which is involved in a foodbank in West Dunbartonshire, said it had people handing back food which needed cooking because they couldn't afford the electricity or gas.

Others told of similar stories across the country.

Dennis Curran, chairman of Loaves and Fishes charity in East Kilbride, said there has always been food banks but not on this scale. He said: "There is a fallacy that foodbanks are misused and people are layabouts. These are people who have no money and they are frightened.

"We had a call from social work asking for food that didn't need to be cooked because the person had no electricity.

"My seven-year-old grandson could tell you it's because of benefit cuts. People are being penalised for being poor and for not having a job. People are coming to us and they are broken. Breaking their hearts because they can't feed their weans."

Ewan Gurr of the Trussell Trust which operates food banks in Glasgow said there increase was "terrifying".

He said in the last year the number of people helped in Scotland had gone from 17,000 to 56,000. He said: "Last year 155 were because of benefit changes, which includes sanctions. That has risen to 20% this year. That is 11,200 people. It is a huge concern.

"Welfare reform is inextricably linked to the increase in demand for emergency food."

Conservative MSP Alex Johnston claimed that the reason people were seeking help was not down to government policy but the process of decision making at a local level.

He said: "We talk about the welfare reform process, but there is an issue about the way DWP offices work. I think there are two difference issues there."

Linda Fabiani SNP MSP for East Kilbride said: "The people who set the policy are responsible for the process. It is a cop out to say there is a difference between the policy and the process. The rise in foodbanks is a clear indication. Let's not deny it, the evidence is there."

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

154504

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

The sight of wee dolphins choking to death on discarded supermarket bags helped me change me use reusable shoppers

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You Couldn't Make This Up

The secret world of the wheelie bin.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.