THE need for food banks in a wealthy country is nothing short of a disgrace, but the latest evidence of the scale of poverty is even worse.

People are giving back tinned food which needs to be cooked because they cannot afford to pay for the electricity.

This is a scandal on more than one level - where the need for food banks is obvious, there is an issue with the cost and complexity of charging for gas an electricity.

The different tariffs for the same commodity which sees poorer people on pre-paid meters paying more for what is a basis necessity needs closer attention form government and energy providers.

The Welfare Reform Committee is trying to get answers to why there has been an increase in foodbank demand and if there is a direct link to welfare cuts.

The fact that more working people on low incomes are being referred to food banks for help shows the problem is even greater than benefit-related, but shows people on low incomes becoming poorer under the austerity measures.

The committee has repeatedly asked Iain Duncan Smith to appear in public to face questions form MSPs, without success.

His refusal is a failure to be democratically accountable and something he should reconsider.