GLASGOW has had the highest number of foodbank parcels given out to people in need across Scotland.

April 2018 to March 2019 was declared to be the busiest year for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened, with 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies given to those in crisis across the UK - an increase of 18.8 per cent on the previous year.

A total of 210, 605 went to those in Scotland.

The charity says the main reasons for people needing emergency food are benefits consistently not covering the cost of living, and delays or changes to benefits being paid.

Research carried out by the trust claims almost half of referrals to the foodbank have been made due to a delay in Universal Credit.

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The data has prompted the charity to call for an end to the five week for a first Universal Credit payment, claiming it should be the government’s first priority to help create a future without foodbanks.

A petition to make the change has already received more than 12,000 signatures.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “What we are seeing year-upon-year is more and more people struggling to eat because they simply cannot afford food. This is not right.

“Enough is enough. We know this situation can be fixed – that’s why we’re campaigning to create a future where no one needs a food bank. Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty.

“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. As a priority, we’re urging the government to end the wait for Universal Credit to ease the pressure on thousands of households.

“Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a food bank in the first place. No charity can replace the dignity of having financial security. That’s why in the long-term, we’re urging the government to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, to help ensure we are all anchored from poverty.”

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A DWP spokesman said: “It is not true to say that people need to wait five weeks for their first payment. Universal Credit is available to claimants on day one.

“It also cannot be claimed that Universal Credit is driving the overall use of foodbanks or that benefit changes and delays are driving growth.

“The Trust’s own analysis shows a substantial fall in the share of parcels being issued due to benefit payment delays.

“The best route out of poverty is to help people into sustainable employment which, with record employment, we are doing.

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“For those who need a safety net we have invested £10billion into Universal Credit since 2016 alone, confirmed the benefits freeze will end next year and made changes to make Universal Credit fairer for women and families.”